People with Parkinson’s experience both physical and mental symptoms, with up to 40% of patients experiencing depression or anxiety says the report, hot off the press. The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Parkinson’s have focussed their latest investigation on mental health and their newly published findings suggest that symptoms such as anxiety and depression have been going unrecognised, unresponded to, or inadequately treated.

Launched just last week, the APPG heard that whilst people with Parkinson’s often find anxiety or depression to be one of the most distressing parts of their illness, they sometimes wait years for access to mental health support. However, once accessed people find it is usually generic psychological support, rarely tailored to their Parkinson’s or managed by someone who understands the wider condition.

The APPG, which heard from people living with Parkinson’s and the professionals caring for them, noted that whilst care for patients’ physical and mental wellbeing is often disconnected, there are pockets of positive practice that we can learn from and replicate.

The May 2018 publication gives a range of recommendations to various professional bodies from researchers to commissioners, providers to patients. It provides a strong springboard for improvement to mental health services for Parkinson’s across the board.

The Neurology Academy, who contributed data to the group’s findings, particularly noted the difficulty in diagnosing mental health problems because of other symptoms such as apathy and reduced facial movement.

Our Managing Director, Sarah Gillett, attended the launch in parliament last week. She shared that

‘the Academy welcomes this important focus on mental health and wellbeing. We’re committed to aiding in educating professionals to optimise care for people with Parkinson’s across both physical and mental needs.’

To read the findings and recommendations in full or to understand more, visit Parkinson’s UK or go to the report found here.

Interested in increasing your understanding to improve your own practice? In light of these findings, our latest roadshows on ‘Complex management in Parkinson’s’ will be showcasing some excellent speakers addressing mental health management from all angles. Perfect for all professionals involved in the care of people with Parkinson’s, come along to the day course in Newcastle, or keep an eye out for our Edinburgh course running soon.

  

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