"How not to treat someone with depression"

About: Tameside General Hospital

I am a student in Wales that has received no help in relation to my depression and Asperger's Syndrome and am finding university, and daily life, a struggle. At half term I showed signs of concern, such as insomnia, loss of appetite, chest and severe abdominal pain, extreme tearfulness and anxiety, self regulation through injury and reliance on addictive painkillers. Upon phoning 111, I was told to seek emergency medical help (A&E) within the next 6 hours (as my family GP refused to treat me due to my being a student). Once at Tameside, I was told I had been rated on a 1 - 10 scale as a '2'. I was then told to go to a GP, to which I responded I was unable to whilst in Manchester. I was then referred onto the mental health team, the member of which I spoke to told me I was unable to use any services in Manchester as I was a Cardiff student. I fully appreciate this and understand completely that referrals take time and I would be better suited to try the mental health services in Cardiff again. I do have an issue with the way she spoke to me. Cold and patronising, she kept saying things like 'what do you want me to do?' and 'there's nothing we can do', always lovely things to hear when struggling with low mood. She then gave me brilliant pearls of wisdom, such as 'why not leave university?' and 'you do know painkillers are addictive, don't you?' I informed her that her brusque nature was making it difficult for me to disclose personal information, to which she responded 'it's my job'. I told her how difficult it is for me to function so far away from home with no support network and she told me to just wait for a GP appointment and I'm not a case for concern anyway. 'A few days isn't going to make a difference', she said. As I left she gave me a booklet on what to do if you think you have depression. On one page it had a list of things not to say to people with low mood. Ironically, she said a lot of those things to me. I appreciate there was little the mental health services could do for me practically, however I went to hospital at crisis point looking for help and found a rude member of staff who, simply put, suggested I either drop out of uni and get help or go and deal with it.

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Response from Lindsay Stewart, Deputy Director of Nursing, Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust

Please accept our sincere apologies for the inconsiderate and uncaring way in which you’re Depression and Asperger’s was managed in the A/E dept.

The service you received on this occasion is not reflective of the care provision expected of the department.

I will ensure the staff member from the Mental Health team receive feedback from their line manager in relation to the poor patient experience you received.

John Goodenough

Director of Nursing

‘’Would you like to help the hospital to improve its services further? We are currently looking for patients and carers to become involved in a development called “Patient Stories”. We want to know more about our services from the point of view of those who received them – what was good, bad, what could be improved, what should be changed. Want to know more about what’s involved? Please contact John Goodenough, Director of Nursing at


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