Hard work on mental health

Mental health matters too – progress made

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Many people with Parkinson's experience anxiety and depression, and we are often told that these can be the most distressing aspect of living with the condition.

Mental health matters too

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Parkinson's, a cross-party group of MPs and Peers, held an inquiry into mental health services for people with Parkinson's experiencing anxiety and depression.

They found many people waiting months and, in some cases, years to access talking therapies, often from staff with little understanding of Parkinson's. They also found mental health services work in isolation from a person's physical Parkinson's health services.

Their report 'Mental health matters too' made several recommendations on how services are organised, including improved training and guidance for health professionals, better support for carers and more research and data on Parkinson's and mental health.

Making progress

Since the launch of the report in May this year, Parkinson's UK have been working hard to see progress made on these recommendations. 

  • We have met with the National Institute of Health Research to discuss how we can get more research funded into anxiety and depression in Parkinson's.
  • We spoke to NHS England about ensuring Parkinson's professionals are involved in the new Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) Long Term Conditions services, as they were overlooked in the development phase of these services.
  • Work has begun to set up a mental health hub within the Excellence Network of Parkinson's professionals. This will be a working group and a space where Parkinson's professionals can share examples of best practice on the condition and mental health.
  • We will be working with commissioners and health professionals to help expand the number of Parkinson's services offering a joined-up approach to mental and physical health for people living with the condition.

We were delighted that over 1,000 of our campaigners wrote to their MPs asking them to meet with Parkinson's UK at this year's party conferences. MPs heard from people with Parkinson's directly - discussing mental health services and how they could help by talking to their local health bodies about the need to join up mental and physical health services.

We will continue to campaign to improve mental health services for people with Parkinson's, and we will have more opportunities for you to get involved next year.

Share your story

In the meantime why not share your story on mental health and Parkinson's or ask your Parkinson's professionals to join the UK Parkinson's Excellence Network, where they can get involved in the new mental health hub.

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Can you help?

We're always looking for people's experiences of mental health and Parkinson's. Share your story (good or bad) and we can build a better case for better health care.

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