chapter  9
14 Pages

Patient safety in mental health care

ByEVA SUNDIN, JAMES HOUSTON

Mental disorders are common, with over 10 per cent of all adult people worldwide suffering from at least one diagnosable illness at some point in their lives.1 However, as was shown by a European Union survey, not all people with mental health problems receive treatment and care from mental health services: ‘The treatment gap (the percentage of individuals who require mental health care, but do not receive it) is high for most mental disorders in Europe’.2 In fact, the treatment gap for severe disorders such as schizophrenia and non-affective psychosis was 17.8 per cent in studies from Western Europe, and for diagnoses such as generalized anxiety disorder and major depression the treatment gap was even larger (62.3 per cent and 45.4 per cent, respectively). While every effort should be made to reduce this treatment gap, it is of paramount importance that those individuals who do receive treatment remain safe while doing so. This chapter will focus on the safety and quality of care for people who receive mental health treatment from the National Health Service (NHS) in England and Wales.