World Mental Health Day 2023

10 October 2023

On World Mental Health Day, leading psychiatrist and Sussex Partnership Non-Executive Director, Dinesh Bhugra reflects on the successes and challenges of supporting people with mental health difficulties since the NHS was founded 75 years ago.

In an interview he talks about his 40 years of experience in the NHS - shining a light on the evolution of mental healthcare and exploring themes including homosexuality and mental illness, and equity of resources for both mental and physical health systems.

In his recent book 'Conversations about the NHS', Professor Bhugra interviewed 12 professionals - all of whom have been, or are, actively involved in the NHS. They include members of the House of Lords, Junior Doctors Committee and the Royal College of Physicians. There is also a representative from the Patients Association, editor of the Lancet, trainee psychiatrists and a journalist.

Professor Bhugra said: "A major shift in the last decade has been that more people including celebrities, athletes and politicians are talking about mental illnesses which is excellent.

"However, the challenge is to meet the needs of people who are experiencing mental illnesses. Equity in funding in mental health research and services is absolutely vital.

"It is of course useful to remind ourselves of World Mental Health Day but it should be celebrated every day of the year because mental health is important for us all. It helps us to improve our social and personal functioning as well as contributions to our families and societies we live in."

In the book, Professor Bhugra also touches upon his personal experiences growing up in India and his psychiatry training, which began in asylums.

Sussex Partnership remains dedicated to supporting people with mental health issues. In the past year there have been a number of key areas of focus, including the launch of the Sussex mental health innovation programme, the opening of Spring Tide Eating Disorder Day Service, a new hub for perinatal mental health and the opening of iRock Horsham for young people.

Jane Padmore, Chief Executive of SPFT, said: "Mental health is a universal human right and at Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, we are focused on improving the quality of services by working in partnership with the people we serve.

"I want to thank our staff, and those in our partner agencies, including social care and the voluntary and community sector, for working tirelessly with us, every day, to make a difference to our community."