Private Scans and Our Mental Health

Diagnoses of conditions can often lead to Mental Health issues – is there a solution to the problem?

Our NHS is one of the biggest employers in the world, rivalling the likes of McDonald’s and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.

Employing over 1.5 million people in the UK, the statistics on the sheer scale of the operation is enough to boggle the mind. Despite hiring over 150,000 doctors and over 300,000 nurses, the NHS still manages to deal with over a million patients in a 36 hour period – a truly staggering number that only belies how hard these men and women work every single day of the year.

In recent years though, the NHS has come under criticism for not dealing with its patients thoroughly enough. One of the most common complaints that are levelled at the system is a lack of engagement with the mental effects of a diagnosis. Each person is different, with varying emotions and memory associations with illnesses – as a result, it is virtually impossible to plan for every mental outcome. Regardless of the number of Mental Health workers that we have at our disposal, helping those who have been psychologically affected by a diagnosis can often be difficult due to their own social anxieties or misgivings about the intentions of others.

A diagnosis of any illness, from a harmless mole to a more serious condition such as cancer, can lead to the patient developing mental health issues. In the case of the more severe diagnoses, those suffering may well feel incapable of sharing the news of their new condition with others. Life-threatening illnesses can be especially difficult to communicate with others as patients can often feel that they will be drawing unnecessary attention to themselves, this can often lead to cases of isolation and depression.

It may be that those who pay for private treatment are offered a more comprehensive form of after-care, which helps to cover any physical or psychological affects that a diagnosis, test or operation can have on a patient. For example, patients who undergo private MRI scans in Manchester or Liverpool might well benefit from a more in-depth discussion of their health options and mental stability than a patient who is admitted into a busy, publicly funded institution, such as the Royal London Hospital.

Despite the discrepancies that currently divide those with either the insurance or the money to fund their own healthcare and those who must wait in the NHS, it’s more than likely that thousands of individuals are diagnosed each year and struggle afterwards with some form of Mental Health issue. So how do we move forward and find a way to reach out to these people, from vastly different social backgrounds, who have become isolated by their health conditions?

We at Open-Art believe that clear and open communication is one of the most important components to good Mental Health, but often it can be hard for people to achieve this. Through the use of group-based arts activities, we hope to give our clients the opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings – giving them an avenue of expression that should act as a gateway to a more transparent discussion of their diagnoses.

With some more help from volunteer practitioners, we hope to engage more isolated individuals in arts based group activities.