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  • Writer's pictureThe British Polio Fellowship

BPF campaigns for better access to mental health services


The British Polio Fellowship and other charities have signed an open letter calling for better access to mental health services for those people affected by a neurological condition.


The letter is part of a campaign, led by the Huntington's Disease Association and has been signed by the Fellowship and around 50 other charities including The Neurological Alliance, MND Association and Parkinson's UK.


It calls on Steve Barclay, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to ease the path for those with a neurological condition, such as Post-Polio Syndrome, in accessing mental health services and reaching the right kind of help, when it's needed.


The letter was delivered to the minister on Friday 29 September, ahead of World Mental Health Day on 10 October. It stated: "This year’s theme is 'Mental health is a universal human right.' However, this right is being denied to some because of the type of condition they live with.


"One in six people in the UK live with a neurological condition and mental health issues are common. In the Neurological Alliance Neurological Patient Experience Survey 2021, My Neuro Survey, 81% of respondents said their neurological condition affected their mental wellbeing.


"Despite this commonality, many are being denied access to mental health services and this is happening across the country. Even if a person with a neurological condition experiences common mental health issues - such as anxiety or depression - clinicians may not refer them for mental health services simply because of the nature of their illness and some who are referred are refused access".


The open letter then went on to ask the minister to review eligibility criteria for NHS Mental Health Trusts, provide specialist training and support for healthcare professionals, and offer more specialist mental health staff and services for people affected by a neurological condition.

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