Cavendish Square GroupLondoners are being urged to become more ‘psychosis aware’ during Schizophrenia Awareness Week (5-9 October) by the Cavendish Square Group (CSG) of NHS Trusts.

Schizophrenia is one of the most common forms of psychosis. Despite having a significantly higher rate of schizophrenia (at 99.8 per 100,000) compared to the rest of the UK (72.6 per 100,000), a recent survey found that 38% of Londoners were not confident that they understood what psychosis was or that they would be able to recognise its symptoms. 

As the 10 NHS Trusts responsible for mental health care in the capital, the CSG is urging Londoners to be more aware of the symptoms of schizophrenia and how to seek the right support.

In a bid to help Londoners become more ‘psychosis aware’, the CSG has published a London Mental Health Factbook and information online to help people to better understand their own mental health and the services available to them. 

“Psychosis can cause people to perceive things differently,” said Dr Bill Tiplady, consultant clinical psychologist at CSG member Trust, Central & North West London NHS Foundation Trust. “Most often, people associate psychosis with hallucinations, delusions and hearing voices – all of which is correct – but we also want Londoners to be more aware of other potential symptoms, and the effective early help which is available, to make sure they know how, and when, to access support if they’re concerned that they or a loved one are distressed by psychotic experiences.”

Pan-London initiatives

The CSG Trusts are also working on pan-London initiatives to ensure mental health services in the capital will meet new referral-to-treatment time standards in psychosis, which come in in April 2016. 

From early next year, people experiencing serious mental ill health will be entitled to the same two-week from initial consultation to specialist referral target afforded to people with suspected cancer.

“We’re working together, all 10 NHS services and commissioners, to invest in a skilled mental health workforce for London that improves psychosis treatments. It means that when the new waiting targets start, we’re equipped to provide world-class, early intervention in psychosis treatment to patients in the capital,” said Claire Murdoch, chair of the CSG and chief executive of Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust. 

“A more psychosis-aware London will mean more people paying more attention to their and their loved ones’ mental health, with rapid access to specialist support. We welcomed the announcement of waiting time targets in psychosis and see it as a step to delivering true parity of esteem – equality – for mental health.”