The title of this blog was a comment made by my GP last time I went to see her at my practice in Manchester. She was trying to explain why there would be a minimum waiting time of 9 months until I could see a counsellor. I was desperately trying to reach out to somebody for help.
I imagine this same scenario happens hundreds of times a day across the UK. Individual’s who can normally function as part of society struggling to get support when they ask for it. It has never been easy for me to enter a GP surgery or A&E department and simply say; “I need help.” I doubt it is easy for anybody that has ever been in that terrifying situation. We are always told if we are feeling down, anxious or if something’s not quite right to be brave enough to ask for help. Why was I left feeling like I shouldn’t have bothered?
There isn’t the available funds within the NHS to provide mental health support for those who desperately need it. Only if you show up at an emergency department after either harming yourself or with a clear plan of how you will, are you treated by the crisis team. Of course crisis teams should exist and are essential but what about the rest of us? What about those of us who haven’t hit rock bottom yet but feel as though we are colliding towards the brink? Are we supposed to cling on for 9 months to the ever dwindling strains of hope we have left?
The NHS is a phenomenal institution. They just need more funding from the government to deal with people suffering from mental health problems. I am very lucky to have supportive family and friends around me to help me through the low points. I am also very lucky that charities such as Mind and Samaritans are there in times of need. As it stands I am on a waiting list to access counselling through Mind. Should a charity be the first point of call for people suffering from depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia? Would a charity ever be the first point of call for somebody suffering from physical illness or would they be treated through the NHS with urgency? With 1 in 4 adults experiencing mental health problems; these are the questions which need to be asked.