Skip to NavigationSkip to content

Urgent need to address mental health crisis among kidney patients

Published on 28/02/22 at 11:00am

Kidney Research UK has released their findings from a survey of 1,000 kidney disease patients in the UK, revealing the significant impact the disease has had on the mental health of this patient population. The study found that 67% of kidney patients experienced symptoms of depression, and 27% revealed they had considered self-harm or suicide as a result of the disease.

Accordingly, the charity Kidney Research UK is calling for all kidney patients to be referred to a renal counsellor at the point of their diagnosis. In spite of the obvious need to support the patient population, 68% of respondents to the survey revealed they had not been offered any mental health support.

The survey highlighted additional serious consequences, with one third (36%) of kidney patients sharing that they were not able to fully take care of their physical health on account of their poor mental health. For patients on dialysis or waiting for a transplant, looking after physical health is crucial to preventing their condition from worsening further. This makes the requirements to improve their mental health all the more pressing.

Meanwhile, 74% of kidney patients who received mental health support found the experience useful. People at all stages of kidney disease were surveyed, including those on dialysis, or waiting for a transplant.

Around three million people in the UK currently live with kidney disease, and of these, 70,000 rely on dialysis or a transplant to stay alive.

Alison Railton, head of policy and external affairs at Kidney Research UK, said: “Kidney patients face huge challenges; their conditions can become worse over time and treatments designed to keep them alive can be physically gruelling to the point of exhaustion. But nothing really prepares you for the harrowing personal accounts kidney patients have shared with us and the mental health struggles they experience throughout their journey. We cannot allow our community to struggle on in silence, which is why we are calling on politicians to give all kidney patients access to specialist mental health support at the point of diagnosis. We often focus on the physical symptoms because they are the most noticeable, but it’s vital we commit to transforming treatments to improve patients’ mental health as well.”

World Kidney Day will take place on the 10 March.

Ana Ovey

Mission Statement is a leading portal for the pharmaceutical industry, providing industry professionals with pharma news, pharma events, pharma service company listings and pharma jobs,
Site content is produced by our editorial team exclusively for and our industry newspaper Pharmafocus. Service company profiles and listings are taken from our pharmaceutical industry directory, Pharmafile, and presented in a unique Find and Compare format to ensure the most relevant matches