Over the course of the 70 years since the birth of the National Health Service, the treatment of mental illness has changed beyond all recognition.
Until the last 20-30 years, people experiencing psychiatric issues would more often than not be treated as inpatients in a psychiatric hospital. Today the vast majority of treatment is carried out in our communities by GPs, community psychiatric nurses, clinical psychologists and others, with only those who are most acutely unwell requiring inpatient treatment.
Where we perhaps see the greatest indication of the evolution in treatment, particularly here in Fife, is in the facilities in which patients are treated.
Stratheden Hospital, near Cupar, was once the Kinross and District Asylum and while the fabric of these buildings remains the vast majority of care provided on the site is in purpose-built units. The most recent of these, Hollyview our Intensive Psychiatric Care Unit, was opened in 2016.
Treatment itself has evolved greatly over the last seven decades. Where once the emphasis of treatment was on managing a patients illness, care is now geared towards therapy and recovery.
Here in Fife, our Mental Health team have worked with third sector groups such as Fife Employability Access Trust to provide assistance where appropriate to those in the community, not only helping with their recovery but also helping them learn new skills and confidence using therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) which can help them access education or gain employment. There is growing evidence that engaging with occupational activities is beneficial in recovery and future wellbeing.
Cultural misconceptions of pyschiatric hospitals
As part of our NHS 70 series, we sat down with recently retired Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Allan Beveridge.
In this clip, Dr Beveridge, talks about some of the common misconceptions around specialist hospitals.