Denton and Reddish MP, Andrew Gwynne, has joined parliamentarians and campaigners to help overhaul local care for Parkinson’s after a report reveals a shocking lack of mental health support for the condition – despite anxiety and depression being amongst its most common symptoms.

Attending the launch of the report, Mental Health Matters Too, Gwynne expressed his concern that nearly half of all people with Parkinson’s experience mental health symptoms, such as anxiety and depression yet only a quarter of those affected receive any treatment for it. Compared with the general population, people diagnosed with Parkinson’s are more than twice as likely to experience depression and anxiety, which is triggered by changes in the brain caused by the condition.

However, the results of a year-long inquiry reveal the psychological aspects of Parkinson’s are being ignored by the health system, and many with the condition are waiting months, or even years, to get the mental health support they need. The research was conducted by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Parkinson’s, and Gwynne is now supporting its calls to overhaul the NHS and deliver a more joined up approach to care for all aspects of the condition.

Research for the report, provided by charity Parkinson’s UK, shows that the hidden psychological symptoms of Parkinson’s are one of the biggest challenges faced by many people with the condition. Of those who experience psychological symptoms:

–  72% say their mental health has affected their ability to socialise.
–  Half (50%) find it harder to leave the house.
–  More than a quarter (27%) have felt suicidal.

Additionally, anxiety and depression are a particular concern for people with Parkinson’s as they have been shown to worsen other symptoms, such as tremor or ‘freezing’.

For more information on key findings and recommendations from the inquiry, Mental Health Matters Too can be accessed via the Parkinson’s UK website on: www.parkinsons.org.uk/mentalhealthmatters

For advice, information and support call the charity’s free, confidential helpline on 0808 800 0303

Andrew Gwynne said:

“This is an extremely important report, which highlights truly shocking findings that need to be addressed. I have made a commitment today to contact our local health authorities to discuss how we can ensure that people with Parkinson’s in Denton and Reddish get timely and effective treatment that addresses not just the physical symptoms, but the psychological symptoms too.”

Baroness Gale, (Co-Chair of the APPG on Parkinson’s), said:

“My father lived with Parkinson’s, so I know first-hand the impact that this incurable neurological condition can have on all areas of a person’s life – and the wide array of support needed.

 

“Although it’s clear the vast majority of people with Parkinson’s receive treatment to manage their easily-recognisable physical symptoms, such as tremor and rigidity, hardly any have access to the support they need for mental health symptoms until it’s too late.”

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