"lack of mental health services in Salford"

About: Greater Manchester

(as the patient),

In September 2011 my partner of 23 years was diagnosed with Leukemia. Having to get through this and support our children put me under massive strain. Thankfully my partner recovered fully from his illness however I began to feel extremely depressed. After hitting rock bottom and feeling very suicidal I finally plucked up the courage to visit my doctor at Walkden medical centre. This was very difficult and I felt as though when I was sat in the surgery waiting room I had a neon sign above my head saying "mental patient".

I was given anti-depressants by my doctor and was told I could see a counsellor but the waiting list was for a minimum of four weeks. I went home and tried to carry on with my life whilst waiting for my appointment. During this waiting time I had no contact from my doctor to make sure I was ok. I was finally given an appointment after 4 weeks. I again had to sit in the surgery waiting room with the "neon sign" above my head. I was taken up to a room that was basically in the loft space. The room had 2 chairs, a desk and a small window in the roof. The room was cold and very unfriendly. I was very nervous and very vulnerable at this stage. I was asked by the person I saw to fill out a tick form showing my feelings. I can honestly say I lied on the form. I felt as though if I put my true feelings down I would have been taken away by men in white coats. The session lasted just over 30 minutes.

I saw the person again 2 weeks later and filled out the same form and again the session lasted approximately 30 mins. I came out of the session feeling worse than when I went in and made the decision there and then that I would not return.

I was not once contacted by the "counsellor" or my doctor to see how or where I was. As far as they were concerned I could have committed suicide. The help that I was given did nothing whatsoever to improve how I was feeling. I was in no doubt that I would never go to see my doctor again if I was suffering with depression. This worried me a great deal as it leaves me to think where do I turn to if I need help.

Thankfully through a wonderful family support and wonderful friends I am now out of a very dark tunnel. I am one of the lucky ones but it frightens me to think where the people with no family support turn to as the service on offer does not work.

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››

Updates, changes and questions related to this story