Mental health services failing people with epilepsy

Patchy and uncoordinated mental health services are not supporting over 13,000 people in Scotland diagnosed with epilepsy and mental illness. Mapping current service provision is vital to meet their needs-and Epilepsy Scotland plans to do just that.

The national charity recently held a conference on psychological and emotional wellbeing. Another key finding was that innovative public campaigns can help tackle the stigma of epilepsy.

Anxiety and depression already affect around one in three people with epilepsy. According to guest speaker, Glasgow Liaison Psychiatrist Tom Brown, mental health problems are under recognised, under investigated and under treated in this population.

Chief Executive Lesslie Young said,” Despite mental health being a recognised priority, people with epilepsy are missing out on appropriate care. Our conference has made health and social care professionals more aware that having epilepsy affects every part of your life. Drugs often control physical symptoms of seizures. However, some people find it harder to cope emotionally with this stigmatised condition.

Having examined the links between epilepsy and mental health, we plan to survey existing services. Once gaps are identified, Epilepsy Scotland will drive forward the case for integrated services. These services must match what people with epilepsy need”