'Cinderella' Mental Health Service 'Needs More Money' KILLINGS COULD BE REDUCED WITH MORE CARE SAYS CHARITY

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), June 16, 2010 | Go to article overview

'Cinderella' Mental Health Service 'Needs More Money' KILLINGS COULD BE REDUCED WITH MORE CARE SAYS CHARITY


Byline: ABBY ALFORD

THE number of killings committed by people who are mentally ill could be reduced if more money went into support services, a leading campaigner said last night.

In the wake of the sentencing of schizophrenic Leyton Williams for manslaughter, Bill Walden-Jones, chief executive of mental health charity Hafal, told the Western Mail mental health was an under-resourced "Cinderella service".

At Cardiff Crown Court this week it was alleged that Williams had been released into the community against the wishes of his psychiatrists and without proper support from mental health services.

Increasingly paranoid and delusional, he killed his friend Anthony Kitely and assaulted his mother Queenie Williams.

The case was the latest killing by a person known to be seriously disturbed.

Healthcare Inspectorate Wales has now begun an inquiry into the care Williams, from Cardiff, received.

Mr Walden-Jones said: "Any solution that looks to deal with the risk needs to recognise that the overwhelming majority of people, even those with the most serious mental illnesses, do not pose any threat.

"The best way is to determine risk among the very small number of people who may pose a risk and take action on that assessment."

But he added community mental health teams were so under-resourced, patients with serious mental health problems such as schizophrenia may go for days without being seen.

"Hafal has 1,000 members and nearly all of these are people with schizophrenia, bipolar or other serious mental health problems or their families," said Mr Walden-Jones. "I think they all share the public's concern about getting services right for people with serious mental illnesses.

"I do accept that if you put better quality risk assessment and better community services in place, you could reduce the number of homicides.

"You would not deal with them all because there are always unexpected cases. But my members would certainly not reject the argument that says you could reduce the number of homicides.

"There's a long history of mental health services being intrusive when people are taken into hospital. …

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