Economy has led to more mental health problems across county

By Ian Dipple Tuesday 06 August 2013 Updated: 06/08 19:15

UNCERTAINTY in the economy has resulted in more people seeking help with mental health problems.

But doctors say with more support residents with less severe issues would be able to deal with them by themselves.

Speaking during a discussion about a county mental health strategy currently being drafted, Dr Jim Goodman, from Wyre Forest Clinical Commissioning Group, said while there was a focus on suicide it was at the ‘high end’ of the scale and doctors were seeing more people struggling at a much lower level on a day-to-day basis.

Figures obtained by the Standard show 19,603 Redditch and Bromsgrove residents were recognised as having depression in 2011/12 compared to 17,761 the previous year - an increase of 10.4 per cent.

There has been a 2.3 per cent rise in the numbers living with schizophrenia, bipolar and other psychoses from 1,085 to 1,110 over the same period.

In South Worcestershire, which covers Droitwich, 30,588 residents were recognised as having depression in 2011/12 compared to 29,275 the previous year - an increase of 4.5 per cent.

In the south of the county there was a 7.2 per cent rise in those living with schizophrenia, bipolar and other pyschoses - from 1,870 to 2,004 in the same period.

“A lot of that is a lack of mental resilience, the ability of people to cope with uncertainty, lack of ability to cope with problems in society at the moment,” Dr Goodman said.

“Is the strategy not just tackling that high end of problems but encouraging people to manage themselves, their own illness so they don’t need to call 999, turn up at A&E or go and see doctors - there’s a lot the public can do to manage their own health and well-being.”

Dr Richard Harling, the county’s director of public health, said it was important to focus on what individuals should be doing for themselves as well as what they should and should not be expecting from services on offer.

Kevin Dicks, chief executive of Redditch and Bromsgrove councils, added: “The premise is we do more early on to support people so they don’t get into the situation in the first place.”

A first draft of the strategy is due to go out for consultation in September. Interested groups will be asked to comment on the document before it is implemented, likely to be in April 2014.

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