retreats and "sanctuaries" should replace psychiatric
hospitals, report urges
by Angela Hussain
centres, retreats and therapeutic “sanctuaries" with
private ensuite rooms should replace psychiatric hospitals, a report
by a mental heath charity has urged.
People in a mental health crisis and carers should also be able
to drop into new community health centres at any time of the day
and night to access help.
Such services should from the core infrastructure of a therapeutic
non-hospital-based mental health system for the rest of this century,
the Rethink report states.
The report, entitled Future Perfect, was produced after the charity
had discussions with focus groups consisting of service users and
Rethink 2003 report, entitled Just One Per Cent found people’s
worst experiences of mental health services were during in-patient
this year the Healthcare Commission was critical of psychiatric
wards. And in September 2004, a report by the mental health charity
Mind found 51 per cent of psychiatric inpatients reported being
verbally or physically threatened during their stay.
focus groups were asked to envisage a mental health service without
Perfect states that new replacement therapeutic sanctuaries should
have "open spaces and gardens, complementary therapies available,
and private rooms with ensuite facilities."
Rethink focus groups called for a mental health service built around
telephone helpline support, community-based crisis intervention
and short-stay “sanctuary” in non-hospital environments
offering hotel-like accommodation.
In a separate development, a Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health
discussion paper published last month has
estimated the number of extra clinicians required to implement a
"good" mental health which, by 2010, would meet the government's
own standards set out in its 1999 national service framework for
It stated 67.3% more consultant psychiatrists (from 1776 to 2972)
would be needed. Also, 400% more consultant psychotherapists (from
92 to 459), 45.8% more nurses (from 41,485 to 60,618), 85% more
clinical psychologists (5518 to 10,209), and 562% more psychotherapists
(from 723 to 4,786) would be needed.
Rethink's Future Perfect report (pdf)
for Mental Health's discussion paper Defining A Good Mental Health
25, 2005: One third of mental health staff have threatened to use
medication or seclusion to control psychiatric patients' behaviour
- findings released in Healthcare Commission audit exposing
culture of violence on wards
6, 2004: More than half of psychiatric inpatients verbally or physically
threatened by other patients or staff, survey reports - but
MIND's survey's validity likely to be questioned due to small sample
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