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Saturday 2 April 2011

DENMARK - EUROPEAN EXEMPLAR OF GOOD PRACTICE : Re Mental Health Incidence / strategies.

Denmark tops the U.N.'s World Health Organisations' Mental Health Survey statistics( W.H.O. 2004)
for positive mental health  and psychological treatment / preventitive care options.
U.K. ranks in the lower end of the middle of the tables.
Which way shall we choose to go? Up or down?
Should we invest more in 'Talking Therapies,' as NICE recommends or  use medication as the primary response of doctors as in the U.S.(strongly advised against by the NICE Guidelines.)

The U.S. was towards the bottom on the U.N.'s W.H.O.  statistics(2004) having poor mental health outcomes, high incidence rates and poor preventitive treatment options.


For more information on alternatives to medication visit my YOUTUBE videos with BBC radio commentaries from Radio 4 'Womans' Hour,'or Radio 5 Investigates.
The Danish prescription rate of psychostimulants in 2009 was 10,000 for a population of  5.5 million (i.e. 200 per 100,000) (0.2%)compared to 600,000 for a population of 65 million (i.e. 1,200 per 100,000)(1.2%) in the U.K. So Denmark medicates one sixth of the rate of children compared to the U.K. prescription rate and one forty eighth  of the U.S. prescription rate of psychostimulants where 12% of the total school population are on psychostimulants at any point in time, and 40% of young people aged 6 -18 have had stimulants for at least two years in their school career.What a shameful statistic!It is a clear indicator of its chosen use as a means of social control.

Denmark uses a range of  socially democratic approaches as alternatives to drugs, such as Social Pedagogy which has very high success rates with disadvantaged and behaviourally disturbed young people.This approach is a totally psychologically based and is an intensive model (as recommended by NICE) which gets one in six YP to university against our appalling figure for Looked after 
children in the U.K. of one per thousand (a hundred fold difference or 10,000% between Denmark and the U.K.)

For Depression which is the largest reported Mental Health problem in the world today again the cross cultural rates are very different.

Denmark had 1,000 per 100,000 adults with severe depression in 2009, compared to 10,000 per 100,000 in the U.K. ( a ten fold difference = 1,000%) and 16,000 per 100,000 in the U.S.( a sixteen fold difference = 1,600%)

So what is happening in Denmark that make it potentially one of the 'Healthiest' countries in W.H.O. (World Health Organisation) tables and the U.S. one of the unhealthiest.

Is it the predisposition in the U.S. to high rates of  mental health diagnosis using DSM4 ( soon to be DSM5 with wider spectra) and medication compared to Denmark or due to the social values and models that distinguish the two social systems? in the seminal book," The Spirit Level" 2009 ,Professor Richard Wilkinson et al. suggests that social inequality may be a big factor, as there are state to state variations as well as country to country differences in all these measures.

We need to know the answers to these questions so we can make the right choices here in the U.K. for intervening effectively for the long term benefit of our children and young people.

Clearly Denmark is doing something right and they willingly choose to pay an average tax bill of 50% in order to fund this progressive and much admired system. The choice is ours and we need to make it soon in the U.K. to avoid further harm to our society's children in the future.

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