Medication for mental health conditions

Medications can be used to treat the symptoms of many mental health conditions. The benefits of taking a medication are expected to be greater than the risk of side effects. However, medications work differently for different people and side effects can still happen. 

Are people given understandable information with a new prescription?

People who are receiving treatment should be given information about that treatment, including any side effects. The NICE quality standard for service user experience in adult mental health states that written information should be available in an appropriate language or format, and staff should clearly explain any clinical language and check that the person understands what is being said. Care Quality Commission, Community Mental Health Survey

Since 2010, roughly 15% of respondents said they did not receive information that they were able to understand when prescribed a new medication. Most recently, in 2016, 15% of respondents stated that they were not given understandable information regarding their new medication.

Updated November 2016

About this data

The community mental health survey looks at a sample of people from each trust who used NHS mental health services.

Until 2013 a separate question was asked as to whether the patient had been told about possible side effects of the medication.


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