College-led stories on mental health attract media attention

We made the headlines this month with two RCPsych-generated news stories gaining significant coverage in the newspapers and broadcast channels.

We obtained significant coverage for a story on discharge data which showed the 72-hr follow-up target for people leaving inpatient services was missed 38,000 times.

Evidence shows the risk of suicide is highest on the second and third days after leaving a mental health hospital, which led to the introduction of the target to follow-up with at least 80% of people within three days.

Dr Adrian James, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said:

“It’s vital that our mental health services are properly staffed and funded to offer proper follow-up care and help prevent suicides.”

The story ran across The Guardian, The Sun and Medscape online, with print coverage in The Times and The Daily Mirror, and broadcast across GB News, TalkSport, Times Radio, and Virgin Radio. In total, the story achieved 47 mentions across print, online and broadcast media with an estimated total audience of 1.98 million people.

Earlier in the month, the College also contributed to a BBC News story on pressures facing Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), sadly leading to the deaths of some young people in inpatient services. Professor Bernadka Dubicka said the number of young people presenting to A&E or CAMHS services with mental health needs is rising each year, citing chronic underinvestment and staffing shortages as contributing to a ‘perfect storm’.

Dr Elaine Lockhart, Chair of the Child and Adolescent Faculty, was interviewed live on BBC News Channel and stated:

“We need better services to meet the needs of young people… there is a lot of work to be done.”

The BBC promoted the story heavily, across TV channels BBC Breakfast, BBC News at One, the BBC News Channel and several BBC Radio stations including Radio 4, Radio 5 Live, Newsbeat and regional radio shows with an estimated reach of 9.2 million people.

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