"I think the number of appointments should be changed"

About: Greater Manchester Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust / Primary care mental health

(as the patient),

I think it all began from when I suffered a brain haemorrhage/stroke in 2001. I had had a full time job in the legal profession which I loved although it could be stressful. I worked long hours and I did work most evenings voluntarily with a Cub and Scout group.

My husband and myself endured years of problems with other members of our families, my family mostly. My father drank a lot and he and my mother were always arguing and fighting. My brother drank heavily and in the last few years especially after his wife sadly died aged only 53, he drank even more. We were always having to sort things out for him and he was in and out of hospital. He died aged just 63 a couple of years ago.

My mother in law suffered from dementia in her later years which brought all kinds of stress and problems. We couldn't go on holiday or travel very far away from her. She died just a few weeks after my brother. Then my very best friend passed away suddenly which was a real shock.

I had always been a person who coped and sorted things for everyone else. The first sign of something not being right was when I became reluctant to go out or if we went out I wanted to get back home as soon as possible. I actually put off going to visit our grandsons one day and it was then I decided I needed to seek help before things got worse.

Our GP prescribed an anti depressant and arranged for me to see a therapist. The young woman I saw was very nice. She said I had a number of issues. She thought I was mourning for the life I had before my stroke for one and the deaths of my relatives and friend together with all the trauma I had especially with my brother all added up to my state of mind now.

I could only see her for the set number of appointments - 6 - and I think that should be changed. You should be able to see a therapist until you feel better not just cut off after a certain number of weeks.

I am now attending Art of Prescription classes which means I have to go out to them and it is a relaxing couple of hours.

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Response from Clare Thompson, Senior Communications Officer, Corporate Affairs, Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Ivymay

Thanks for getting in touch to let us know how you feel and for your story about your experiences.

We appreciate how difficult it is when you have a number of things that are affecting your mental wellbeing and don’t feel your contact with mental health professionals is as frequent as you’d like it to be.

Our trust now has performance expectations for all our services which do not impose a set limit on the number appointments our psychological therapists can offer. Each of our therapists collaboratively decide a reasonable end point with the person receiving the service.

I hope this helps,

Best wishes.

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