How doctors DENY patients mental health treatment that might stop them harming, or even killing themselves

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Thousands of children and young adults in the UK with serious mental illness are being denied the help they need because doctors label them as difficult and attention-seeking, experts claim.

Leading medics are now calling for an immediate ban on youngsters being classed as having border­line personality disorder (BPD) – a condition in which they are often considered emotionally unstable and even manipulative.

WHAT EXPERTS SAY

Experts say the diagnosis – although recognised as a medical condition – encourages mental health staff to treat patients as troublesome rather than in need of specialist psychiatric care.

They add that in some cases doctors ignore warnings that patients with BPD are planning to harm or kill themselves because they believe they are ‘making it up’.

As a result, many are denied treatment with drugs or counselling that might help.

SUICIDE RATE

This is despite the fact that studies show up to one in ten people with BPD symptoms end up committing suicide.

Now hundreds of senior medics have signed a letter to Health Secretary Victoria Atkins demanding the term be scrapped.

WHAT DOCTORS DO

It warns that doctors are telling young patients they have a flawed personality when many actually have severe mental illness triggered by trauma.

The letter, signed by former Health Minister Sir Norman Lamb as well as leading psychiatrists, psychotherapists and mental health nurses, states: ‘Until there is conclusive proof that this diagnosis does not harm children, we say it should not occur in the UK.’

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An estimated 8,000 patients a year in England alone are treated on the NHS for suspected BPD.

Sufferers find their emotions confusing and hard to control, they struggle with relationships and experience disturbed thoughts.

They often have a deep-rooted fear of being abandoned and can act impulsively. It is diagnosed by a nine-point symptom list – if patients have five or more, they are labelled as having BPD.

MENTAL HEALTH IN UK

An estimated 1.5 million people in the UK meet BPD criteria. But research shows many mental health professionals treat them differently to those they consider to have a ‘genuine’ problem.

In a study, University of Wisconsin researchers interviewed 22 psychiatrists to get their views on BPD patients.

The results, published in the journal Social Science And Medicine, found most described them as ‘difficult’ and did their best to get them out of their clinics as soon as possible.

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Ola Alabi
Ola Moses is a certified writer, He writes technically and creatively. He is the CEO of WORDSWORTH, a house where writing is made easier for all. He is a content creator at EsB TV, since 2019. He is a young man that showcases professionalism in all that he does, he was announced as Child and Green Foundation Person of the Year 2018, one of his many lists of honours.

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