During the General Election, the Liberal Democrats identified four areas of health policy to prioritise: cancer. maternity care, Alzheimers – and mental health. I am proud that the LibDems took this stand, as mental health services are ignored most of the time, with the occasional burst of publicity when something goes wrong. The stigma surrounding mental health is part of the problem, which is why the Time to Change campaign is so important.
Now NHS Islington has launched another good tool, iCope, a self-help website; it has lots of practical advice if you are anxious or mildly depressed, plus pointers to help with more serious conditions.
Islington has significantly higher levels of mental health problems than the national average, even without the impact of the recession. So anything that can help is welcome.
Internet self-diagnosis and online pharmacies may have given some ‘health’ websites a bad name. But given the stigma and social isolation caused by mental health conditions, I think making this king of self-help available online is great way to reach the many people affected.