Dismissed on the basis of my diagnosis

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Policy implications of research on community support for people with complex emotional needs

12 April 2022

People living with ‘complex emotional needs’ or who are diagnosed with ‘personality disorder’ have for a long time found themselves excluded, marginalised and subject to discrimination in all aspects of life, including from health and care services.

Dismissed on the basis of my diagnosis draws together evidence from six published studies on community services for complex emotional needs. It highlights clear evidence that people with complex emotional needs experience stigmatising treatment, fragmented services and a lack of support. Many mental health practitioners demonstrate negative views of people with complex emotional needs. And as a result, people too often either receive poor quality treatment or are turned away from services.

This briefing has been produced as part of the NIHR Mental Health Policy Research Unit at University College London and King’s College London, in partnership with collaborators from City University London, University of Birmingham, and University of Greenwich. Centre for Mental Health and The Mental Elf work alongside the Unit to ensure its work is accessible and relevant to policymakers, practitioners and the public. The MHPRU’s Lived Experience Working Group contributes to its work. This research programme was initiated to provide policy research evidence to inform the NHS Long Term Plan delivery of community-based services that effectively meet the needs of people with complex mental health issues, including the delivery of psychological, pharmacological and social support.

The briefing calls for the Government and NHS to review current services and to set out plans for improving community-based support for people with complex emotional needs, and ensure non-stigmatising, holistic, intersectional and sustained help is on offer in all areas. It also calls for improved training across the board for all professionals responsible for supporting people with complex emotional needs, and for gaps in the evidence base to be a top priority for research funders to address.

Puzzle diagram depicting aspects of effective support for people with complex emotional needs

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