A new recent report published by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Skin (APPGS) suggests that there is a lack of mental health support available for patients with skin conditions.
Evidence was collected by the APPGS in March and April from more than 500 UK patients with a range of skin conditions, as well as 100 clinicians and 16 organisations operating in the field of dermatology.
93% of people with skin disease reported a negative impact on their self-esteem and 69% reported a negative impact on their work or education.
In addition, 100% of the 27 under 18’s who responded to the survey indicated that their skin condition affected their psychological wellbeing.
Key recommendations of the report were that there should be mandatory psychodermatology training for the NHS, an increase in dermatology training numbers, comprehensive dedicated psychodermatology services in each region of the UK, and that a sizeable proportion of new funding available to clinical commissioning groups for mental health services should be spent on services available for dermatology patients.
Sir Edward Leigh MP, chair of the APPGS and Member of Parliament for Gainsborough, said, “This timely report comes out during a period of unpresented psychological distress for many people living with a skin condition. People living with a skin condition deserve the right to be provided with excellent and appropriate psychological support to manage their condition. However, I was alarmed by the lack of psychological support that is available to people with a skin condition. Therefore, the NHS must urgently invest in, and expand, specialist mental health support for people with a skin condition.”
Dr Tony Bewley, consultant dermatologist and chair of the APPGS’s expert committee, said, “As this vital report illustrates, children and young people, who can be particularly vulnerable to mental health issues and bullying related to their skin health and appearance, have been particularly let down in this area. As it stands there is only one paediatric psychodermatology clinic in the UK, which is clearly inadequate. We are keen to urge commissioners to recognise the evidence highlighted in this report which shows that investment in specialised mental health services for people with skin conditions is cost effective compared to the alternatives.”