Progress on our mental health campaigning

A year has passed since the launch of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Parkinson's report 'Mental health matters too'. The report found that the health system is failing to meet the mental health needs of people with Parkinson's.

The Mental Health matters too report found people waiting months and in some cases years to access talking therapies. Often therapists had little or no understanding of Parkinson's and so care and treatment were not meeting people's needs.

Parkinson's health professionals told of poor communication between mental and physical health services, including accessing patient's notes.

Recommendations made in the report included:

  • taking a more joined up approach to mental and physical health care for people with Parkinson's
  • better training and guidance for mental health professionals
  • more research on Parkinson's and mental health
  • better data on the use of mental health services for people with Parkinson's
  • improved mental health support for family and carers

Parkinson's UK has been working hard to see progress made:

  • We have met NHS England to discuss improving training on Parkinson's for mental health professionals. They have agreed to work with us to develop Parkinson's specific mental health online learning for health professionals.

  • We are working with the British Psychological Society to improve the understanding of Parkinson's among those providing cognitive behavioural therapy. We will be collaborating on a new Parkinson's and mental health learning resource for their members.

  • We have stressed to NHS England the importance of 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.

  • We have met with the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) to urge them to prioritise Parkinson's and mental health research. We have also been trying to meet with government minister Baroness Blackwood, to encourage investment in research to understand the most effective mental health care for people with Parkinson's.

  • The UK Parkinson's Excellence Network of health professionals have launched a mental health hub to share examples of best practice to tackle common problems. We hope this will improve mental health care for people with Parkinson's.

There's been great progress this year, but there is still more to do to ensure mental health services for people with Parkinson's meet their needs.

Senior Policy and Campaigns Adviser at Parkinson's UK, Sam Carney said: "While we welcome the progress made, there is still some way to go.

"We urgently need more research on Parkinson's and mental health, as well as better data on how people with Parkinson's are using mental health services.

"We need to see action from commissioners to fund joined up physical and mental health care for people with Parkinson's, and we are committed to continuing our work in this area to see even more improvements in the coming year."

Play your part

If you'd like to get involved in our campaigning to improve mental health services please sign up to our Campaigns Network today.

We'll send you regular emails to share progress and how you can support our work in this area.