Suffolk: Hundreds treated for mental illness

HUNDREDS of people had to be hospitalised for mental illnesses in the county last year, figures revealed today.

According to the Department of Health, 1,164 residents were admitted to facilities at Ipswich Hospital and West Suffolk Hospital in the financial year 2010/11.

In addition, 252 people with psychosis had to be treated by Suffolk Mental Health Partnership’s (SMHP) early intervention teams during the same period.

Dr Hadrain Ball – interim medical director of SMHP – said the most common mental illness being treated in Suffolk’s hospitals was clinical depression.

He said: “I don’t think there is anything about the mental health picture in Suffolk that makes it peculiar in comparison to other parts of the country.

“There are a range of diagnoses and reasons why sufferers have these conditions.

“The most common disorder I have found among inpatients is clinical depression but there are also people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder who are treated as inpatients because of the severity of their condition.

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“It is only when the illness is severe that people must be treated as inpatient.

“You have to remember the mental health service deals with the vast majority of cases in the community.

“But for some people it is better for them to be treated as an inpatient in hospital.”

Suffolk’s early intervention teams have helped people mostly with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar.

Dr Ball said: “These disorders start to have an impact on the patient fairly early on. Treatment offered earlier on has a far better impact on the long-term prognosis and reduction in disability.

“Treatment is a combination of psychological and social support and medication and it tends to be very effective.”