Mental illness & physical illness – Far from gaining parity of esteem
- January 30, 2017
- Category: Of interest from media
Health service must place a greater priority on the physical healthcare needs of people with mental illness, writes Dr Stephen McWilliams in thejournal.ie .
He also references “diagnostic overshadowing” which means symptoms of physical illness are attributed to the patient’s mental illness, and is also a major theme in a recent report by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in London entitled: ‘Whole person care: from rhetoric to reality – Achieving parity between mental and physical health.‘
McWilliams says “patients often feel marginalised in general medical settings. They receive less effective and often delayed care for their physical illnesses because such symptoms are frequently eclipsed by their psychiatric diagnosis.” In Ireland, funding for physical illness is taking priority while funding for the treatment of psychiatric illness is gradually shrinking.
This is despite the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimation that 350 million people worldwide have depression, making it the world’s leading cause of disability. Mental illness and physical illness are a long way from gaining parity of esteem. They simply are not seen as equally important. It is little wonder people with mental illness sometimes feel disenfranchised.”