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It’s a bad day for mental illness – neglect, early death and lack of diagnoses

It's a downheartening digest today, starting off with a report by an alliance of charities that people with neurological conditions suffer ‘neglect' from the NHS.

The Guardian reports that people with conditions such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease experience delays in having their conditions diagnosed. They also receive too little information about what is wrong with them.

The paper by the Neurological Alliance – which represents 70 charities – said that poorly coordinated care of patients  by GPs result in undue emergency hospital admissions.

There was also a ‘spending lottery', with Central Lancashire PCT spending £11.37m per 100,000 of population on neurological disease compared with the £4.31m spent by Haringey PCT. 

Another paper by University College London and Edinburgh University today showed that people with mild mental illnesses are more likely to die early.

Low level distress raised the risk of the likes of cancer and heart disease by 16%, once lifestyle factors such as drinking and smoking were taken into account, the BBC reports.

Although the risk of more severe mental illness was well known, the researchers said the findings around milder cases - thought to affect one in every four people - was concerning, as many would be undiagnosed.

Paul Jenkins, chief executive of the charity Rethink, said the findings ‘do not come as a surprise'.

"While this study looks at depression and anxiety, people with severe mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia die, on average, 20 years earlier than the rest of us. It's an absolute scandal.

"There is a huge lack of awareness amongst health professionals about the increased risk of physical illness for this group, which means people are dying needlessly every day."