Mental patients left to cope in isolation

HEALTH
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The Independent Online
Care for the mentally ill is "going backwards" with many people with schizophrenia living days on end without professional or social contact, the charity Sane claimed today.

A survey of 54 diagnosed sufferers of schizophrenia found that only five had places at day or drop-in centres and only four had been offered counselling or psychotherapy. One in five said that they felt that there was insufficient time allocated by doctors or psychiatrists to talk about their illness or treatment. "We seem to be going backwards in the care we offer," said Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of Sane. "Desperate people are fighting alone or with very little help against the often frightening symptoms of their illness. The most damning finding is that many psychiatrists and GPs are seen as often reluctant to give time or understanding leaving seriously ill people isolated and at increased risk of self-harm or suicide."

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