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14 Sep 2020

Lessons not learned – SANE comment on BBC File on 4 investigation

The BBC’s current affairs documentary series, File on 4, investigates major issues at home and abroad. Its latest programme, Mental disorder and killings that could have been prevented is to be broadcast on Tuesday 15 September.

When people with severe mental illnesses become acutely unwell crisis teams should step in to help but File on 4 hears claims the system is failing – with tragic consequences.

Marjorie Wallace, Chief Executive of SANE, comments:

“The vast majority of people with mental illness are never violent and are more likely to pose a risk to themselves than others. But as headline cases continue to happen it is clear we have not learned the lessons from the serial flaws of the psychiatric system, which cause so much devastation to those involved and increase stigma among the general public. Ignoring the truth of what has happened is like throwing away the black box after a plane crash.

“SANE’s own analysis of key factors identified by independent inquiries continues to reveal the litany of failures: 90% of inquiries reveal a lack of sharing vital information; 75% show inadequate risk assessment; and most unforgivably, more than half fInd a failure to listen to the families of the person with mental health issues and act on their concerns. 

“Until we change attitudes we will continue to have unnecessary suffering and loss of life.”

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