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DH calls for dignity in mental healthcare

15 August 2007

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The successful “Dignity in Care” campaign for elderly people is to be extended to those with mental health needs, says Care Services Minister Ivan Lewis.

Launched in November last year, the Dignity in Care campaign has since recognised 1000 individuals as “Dignity Champions” – individuals going the extra mile to improve services for older people.

Now the campaign is to be extended to people with mental health needs.

“People experiencing mental health difficulties are amongst the most vulnerable in society,” says MP Ivan Lewis.

“We know people fear what they don’t understand. Fear can result in discrimination and we know that people with mental health problems are facing discrimination when trying to access public services like healthcare or get support from social services.”

The Department of Heath is to work in partnership with “Moving People” to attack the stigma faced by those with mental health problems, and ensure that they are treated with dignity and respect in the NHS.

Paul Farmer, chief executive of the mental health charity Mind, said: “Our research has found people routinely stripped of dignity in the mental helath system, even though dignity and self-esteem are essential to recovery from mental ill health.

“People with mental health problems are too often shunned and discriminated against, even in those places which are supposed to be therapeutic and caring.

“Yet being treated with kindness and respect by staff can make all the difference to someone’s wellbeing and esteem, and hasten recovery.”

Department of Health