Hundreds of people in Birmingham with mental health illnesses aren’t taking their prescribed medication.
NHS figures reveal that 4,080 people who began treatment for their mental health illnesses in 2017/18 were prescribed medication to help treat their condition.
This is the first time that figures on the number of people given medication has been published so it is not known if that figure has risen or fallen from previous years.
Of the 4,080 people prescribed medication in Birmingham, 335 people admitted they were not taking it at the start of their treatment – the same as one in every 12 patients.
A further 3,925 people in Birmingham were not prescribed any medication at all at the start of their treatment.
There were also 2,150 people known to be having treatment for mental health conditions, but for whom it was not recorded whether they were prescribed medication.
The Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme is run by the NHS, and offers therapies for treating people with illnesses that include OCD, PTSD, panic disorders, and anxiety and depression.
Across all CCGs in England, 286,090 people were prescribed medication at the start of their mental health treatment, but 25,045 patients admitted they were not taking it – a rate of one in every 11.
Most people receiving care under the IAPT programme who are on medication will be receiving some other form of treatment, too, such as self-help guides and talking therapies.
The NHS has rounded the figures to the nearest five.
What Mind say
Stephen Buckley, head of information at the mental health charity Mind, said: “Ultimately it’s down to the individual whether they want to take medication or not, and there will be lots of factors to consider.
“Medication such as antidepressants and antipsychotics can be effective for some people to manage the symptoms of their mental health problem, but aren’t the answer for everyone.
“Medication often comes with side effects that can be very difficult to cope with.
“It’s really important everyone given a prescription is aware of potential side effects, and is offered a chance to regularly review their medicines and be offered other treatments such as talking therapies, exercise and arts therapies.
“There also needs to be much better support and awareness about coming off medication to ensure people who no longer want to take a medicine can do so safely.
“People can and do recover from mental health problems with the right support, but there is no quick fix and mental health problems can resurface at any time.
“As well as medication, we also need to look at people’s broader experiences, their lives and other challenges they face, which medication rarely can help with.”