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To think low level mental health help is almost non existent

(39 Posts)
Janefromdowntheroad Thu 05-May-16 22:46:29

A lovely friend of mine (previously well her whole life) had an acute mental health crisis last year.

She went to her GP, prescribed antidepressants and told she could self refer to the local mental health people. She called them, they phoned back the next day and arranged to speak to a therapist for an initial phone appointment. Therapist called the next week, an hour phone call. Therapist said she was referring her for extended CBT ASAP. She would hear back the next week. That was nearly a YEAR ago.

She told be today they send her a letter every three months asking if she still wants to wait. In big black bold letters on the bottom it says IF WE DO NOT HEAR FROM YOU IN TWO WEEKS FROM THE DATE OF THIS LETTER WE WILL REMOVE YOU FROM THE WAITING LIST.

She has to fill a form out basically saying if she feels like killing herself or not.

I can't wrap my head around any other medical service where an ongoing year wait is acceptable? The threat of being kicked off the wait list for not responding (baring in mind some depression manifests with not being organised or very motivated to deal with admin stuff)

AIBU to think this is fucking shocking? Why is mental health so underfunded?

EverySongbirdSays Thu 05-May-16 22:55:47

YANBU - there are no beds and MH is a "Cinderella service" at best.

Very few people get referred to "Secondary Services" ie a consultant psychiatrist as caseloads are overflowing at the seams with long term patients, plus CPNs/Keyworkers having too many clients each.

What I find even more interesting I guess is WHY Mental Health issues are on the rise in this country and WHY people are so disaffected with life, particularly children, and why we aren't providing more services to meet this rise and WHY the services that do exist and are being used don't actually really do anything practical to improve the quality of life of those using them, because they don't really.

BillBrysonsBeard Thu 05-May-16 22:56:22

It's true. My brother nearly did something very bad, subsequently got sectioned and only then did they pay attention. He then got the care, diagnosis and right medication he needs. He is now stable, happy and has been for years but it took him nearly falling off the edge to get to this point. Some of the waiting times are shocking! People are in hell.

Janefromdowntheroad Thu 05-May-16 22:59:50

I understand that beds, psychs etc are at a premium. But there is a huge void between online CBT hmm and needing a bed on a ward.

It's a disgrace

TealLove Thu 05-May-16 23:06:23

Totally agree.
I had a crisis last year. I won't say what I tried to do to myself but the "crisis team " said to take 2 diazepam and go to bed.
I won't honerly tell all the details but had I not had my mother to support I would be dead and DD would be without a Mum.
The help was a joke. There's is no help.

EverySongbirdSays Thu 05-May-16 23:07:01

That void means that plenty of people end up in needs of beds that aren't there. I think online CBT is a joke to be fair. Most people in crisis just want someone to talk to - A PERSON. Not an online course.

Janefromdowntheroad Thu 05-May-16 23:10:57

I'm not blaming the NHS at all. She died the initial help was very good, quick and the therapist she spoke to extremely helpful. But then NOTHING.

Is it a lack of therapists? No money? Not prioritised?

Janefromdowntheroad Thu 05-May-16 23:12:03

Teal, she sounds similar to you. Previously fine, happened out of nowhere ( an OCD, anxiety type thing).

Janefromdowntheroad Thu 05-May-16 23:14:32

£9 million on Brexit leaflets

£3 million on funding grassroots football in China angry

That's £12 million. How many therapists does that fund?

Pixienott0005 Thu 05-May-16 23:14:52

Honestly the mental health 'help' out there, if they can call it that is shocking. Literally shocking.

The haven't put enough money in the budget for this area. They need to because it is getting out of control.

BillSykesDog Thu 05-May-16 23:16:00

YANBU. It's not just low level either, a friend of mine was very ill last year, and despite people begging for help for him he didn't get any until he was literally so ill he was like one of the people you see in horror films about Victorian asylums. It was awful.

RandomMess Thu 05-May-16 23:19:05

It's diabolic I had my 3rd crises about 5 years ago, had to start at the bottom as if this wasn't a reoccurring issue, 3 year wait to see someone, moved areas had to start again from the bottom despite having a referral letter from a consultant.

What could have been a few months of regular specialist support will no need "long term therapy" i.e. YEARS.

Trying to wean of the medication they put me on (doesn't help but very addictive) still weaning a year later I don't even get support from my GP.

TBH I think their answer is for people like me to actually succeed in killing ourselves, save them the £££

TealLove Thu 05-May-16 23:31:22

I've been there Jane and it's not pretty.
I'm going to say I tried to hang myself and I called the emergency number I'd been given. I had to fill out a questionnaire on the phone and he just said get some sleep.
I had to call my mother a 70 yo pensioner to pick me up off the floor. They knew I had a child.
Honestly I could go on but I wont.
There really isn't any viable help unless you hurt someone else.

TealLove Thu 05-May-16 23:32:08

"TBH I think their answer is for people like me to actually succeed in killing ourselves, save them the £££"

RandomMess Thu 05-May-16 23:41:13

Of course these deaths then perpetuate damaged people who don't have the support they need.

I am under no illusion that the only reason why I have ever had any help at all is because I have children...

Janefromdowntheroad Thu 05-May-16 23:41:43

I can't believe I'm reading this

In 2016 in a first world country.

TealLove Thu 05-May-16 23:53:40

I have a child and they didn't give a shit. She was safe at her GP most of the time and they seemed to think that made things fine.
If you are alone without a network I honestly don't know what the fuck people do. My parents are pensioners and they had to feed me, dress me, make me wash because I was filthy, look after DD.
I got no help from any services whatsoever and boy did I try.
Previously I had P healthcare which stopped and my previous Psychiatrist said to my mother I needed immediate urgent hospitalisation and care over the phone. I had no money so I had to get through it with the help of family.
The time issue is so important. It needs to be nipped in the bud and you can get better quickly. Don't they see the wait is what kills people.
Sorry feel so strongly about this.

whatever22 Fri 06-May-16 00:00:20


I lost a sibling to depression (suicide) last year and I know she went to the doctors for help several times and got basically nothing. It's horrific.

RandomMess Fri 06-May-16 00:00:26

No extended family, plus they were young the first/second time I needed help when the eldest was 5 - 14 years ago. Funding has been massively cut since then angry

TealLove Fri 06-May-16 00:02:15

They say to tell someone, get help and when you do you're sent away in 3 mins with a prescription.
I'm so sorry whatever.

anklemcankle Fri 06-May-16 00:09:05

I have had problem with anxiety and depression for a few years which I have managed alone but after giving birth to dc6 I got a lot worse m. My gp gave me medication and the hv has been coming. They are lovely about it but it seems like a waste of time - there doesn't seem to be anything they can actually do to help other than ask if I have got better yet.

ForAshortTime Fri 06-May-16 00:30:05

I am a mental health nurse in a crisis team.
I was on night shift last night. Alone, because staff shortages mean we have reduced all shift cover to minimum.
I covered A&E for the hospital we are based in. And all the wards because mental health liaison don't work nights. And supported the 3 MH inpatient wards as the most senior nurse on duty. And covered the 136 suite where police bring people they have picked up but suspect mental health issues. And covered the crisis phone.
I had 11 phone calls through the night, and yes on at least 4 of those I suggested the person take their anxiety med (diazepam) and call me back if it didn't help.
I assessed 5 patients in A&E, 3 of whom were drunk, 2 who had made attempts on their lives. I had to find beds for those 2 - there were none local -and arrange admissions. I took crisis calls in between these assessments.
I got called to the general ward twice for patients who wanted to leave and were being violent. I got called by the MH ward 4 times to help administer medication, restrain violent psychotic patients and remove ligatures from suicidal patients.
I had 1 patient in the 136. The police refused to stay and help and the consultant on call had her phone switched off.
I didn't get home in time to see my dd before she went to nursery.
We honestly do the best we can in shit circumstances.
I have been in coroners court, on the stand, defending myself when someone has taken their life. If I could have prevented it, I would have.

stilllovingmysleep Fri 06-May-16 06:55:44

It is horrific indeed. I work in children / adolescent mental health (CAMHS) and honestly we are pushed to become more and more an emergency / crisis service rather than being properly able to do the early intervention work we should be doing (which saves so much time / money and deals with problems early on). Adult services are much worse. At least with children we do do therapeutic work although as I said not as much as is needed and not as early as needed (due to high thresholds / waiting lists). But when we have to refer our 18 year olds (still so young!) onto adult services, there's so few options!!

katemiddletonsnudeheels Fri 06-May-16 07:13:02

ForAShortTime, I don't think that anybody is criticising individuals within the system, but questioning whether the system itself is a workable one.

It clearly isn't. The very name 'crisis team' implies this - mental health shouldn't really be about firefighting on the front line as ultimately this helps no one. It doesn't help those suffering and it means those with lesser problems are all but ignored.

There needs to be some proper, medically based research into mental health and with treatment on the back of this research. As things stand at the moment, unqualified people are encouraged to take an experts role, views that are based on opinion not fact come into play, and I can already see this paving the way for a future where mental health is seen as something that can be cured with a combination of money and kindness and not the serious problem is is.

Princesspeach1980 Fri 06-May-16 07:20:47

Completely agree, when my DH started with depression and was feeling suicidal, the GP was lovely and so supportive, but had nothing to offer him really. We could wait 6 weeks for an initial meeting with mental health services, so they could decide which waiting list to put him on, and we were told to expect that list would be 6 months minimum, probably more. We were lucky that he had the option to go private through work, but that meant we had to pay £200 towards when I was already worried that he was off work.

I work in a police control room, and we spend huge amounts of time dealing with people who reach out to us rather than mental health services, because they know they won't get help. You get them to A and E to the crisis team, and a couple of hours later they've been sent home and are back on the phone to use.

Camhs is just as bad, if not worse. It's shameful!

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