Mental health

Find out what we believe about mental health.

This policy statement has been developed with advice and guidance from people affected by Parkinson's, health and social care professionals and other experts.

What do we mean by mental health?

Since my medication has been adjusted, my anxiety has subsided. It's an enormous relief to know the problem was part of my Parkinson's and it's treatable.
Person with Parkinson's

The definition of mental health is a contested one, but can be used to describe a person's state of emotional and psychological wellbeing.

Examples of mental ill health can include depression and anxiety.

What we believe

We believe that people with Parkinson's and their carers should have accurate diagnosis and effective treatment of mental health problems associated with Parkinson's.

People with Parkinson's should be kept fully informed about the possible side effects of medication, including mental health side effects.

There also needs to be recognition of the mental and emotional strains on carers of people with the condition.

Why we believe this

There are links between mental health problems and Parkinson's. This can be due to the condition itself, or caused by the difficulties of living with Parkinson's or medication side effects.

There can be difficulties in getting diagnosis and treatment of these symptoms, with a variation in availability of therapies and psychologists.

Carers can also find that they don't receive enough support for their caring role. This can affect their mental health.

What's the evidence?

Our members' survey in 2007 found that a large number of people with Parkinson's had experienced mental ill health:

  • 58% of people had felt depressed.
  • 45% of people had felt anxious, frightened or panicky.
  • 63% had problems with concentration.

Yet only 11% of people with Parkinson's had seen a mental health professional. This is the lowest of any therapy.

Carers also reported high levels of stress and anxiety.

Full policy statement

Parkinson's UK policy statement: Mental health (PDF, 215KB)