"Long delays nationally for counselling"
About: Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust / Assertive outreach Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust Assertive outreach Lincoln LN4 2HN
Posted by DepressionSufferer (as ),
I suffer from recurrent Depression.
Last year, following a particular trauma, my condition became serious. I reached the point of thinking about harming myself. After an initial assessment with the CMHT, I was told that I would have to wait 30 weeks for treatment. When I finally did manage to access treatment, I had one session and then the next was cancelled. All this was being put down to staffing and underfunding.
By the time they were ready to proceed with a course of counselling, I had managed to turn my mindset around with a lot of time, patience and medication, and considering that they weren't even offering me any kind of diagnosis anyway, I felt like the whole experience had been a waste of time. I did not progress with the counselling.
Now my main point is, I was lucky. I was able to retain enough of a sense of self preservation (or perhaps was just too cowardly?) to prevent myself from taking my own life. Nevertheless, I had written my letters, planned my method, and would be lying if I said that suicide wasn't a very real option for me at that time.
So what of those who have sunk even deeper than me? That 30-week wait could seem like an eternity, and could genuinely be the difference between life and death.
Depression can be a life-threatening illness. It doesn't seem to me that it is treated as such? I feel that the NHS is not currently provided with a level of funding to help those people for whom suicide feels like the only option.
Following my experience I made an FOI request to some of the other care trusts elsewhere in the country, to find out whether this problem was localised to my area (far East Lincolnshire) or was universal. In London a 6-11 week wait was reported, in Hull 9-10 weeks, in Devon 20 weeks and in the East Riding of Yorkshire as long as 52 weeks.
I felt at the time that it was absolutely disgusting that people in need of care, in some cases in order to save their lives, were being abandoned for the best part of a year and effectively put into a live-or-die lottery.
In my opinion, our NHS doesn't seem to have much of a grip on mental health care at all.