A couple of weeks ago I had a telephone consultation with a lovely lady from an NHS service based in Cornwall that carry out counselling and therapies and work with people with depression, as well as a multitude of other mental illnesses.
When speaking to this lady, and breaking down (again) exactly what had happened in my life to cause me to have this illness, I really felt positive that she could do something to help. We discussed my disordered eating which is linked to my anxiety which cause panic attacks, and which are all ultimately linked to my depression. She seemed to really understand and it felt quite freeing to look towards a new path to heal myself. That phone call was left on the basis that she would assess my answers to her questions, and the things that I had said, and then would get back to me in just over a weeks time to check in and to discuss the options available to me.
I’ve just now had that phone call.
Again this woman was very accommodating and understanding and I could tell, with no hesitation, that she was someone who cared about each patient. And that is truly lovely. However, I have to say, the mental health services that are offered in my county, are entirely atrocious.
Seeing as they assessed my answers to questions and the information that I had shared, this service felt that I wouldn’t particularly be suitable for their short term, maximum of 6 sessions and no more, capabilities.
I just cannot get my head around how this is supposed to be helping?
6 sessions to cover the depth and intensity of what is going on in my head? 6 sessions of free counselling is all we are entitled to?
I’m sorry but this needs to change.
I have paid thousands of pounds on private counsellors with all different theories, over the years, not one of them really capturing the issue and really stamping down on it. And that’s me because I’m lucky to have the money to be able to spend that on my mental health. The difficult is, when I start my university course in September, I will have no disposable income with which to pay for my mental care. Is mental health only relevant for those with money? Is that what we think, as a country?
If I broke my leg right now, I would not have to pay to get the immediate care and the after care that I needed. And sure, this is great, but it doesn’t come free. As a country we pay a fortune on taxes that go towards keeping this place afloat, so I pay my way. Why is breaking my leg more worthy of being fixed than me waking up every morning wishing I hadn’t. Why is the common cough or cold more essential to cure than people wanting to end their lives? Is a drunken idiot who has gotten into a fight and split his lip open more deserving of free health care than someone who struggles to live everyday without fear, anxiety and panic attacks? This is effectively what we’re saying. And I’ll tell you why it’s this way…simply because no matter how much we pretend, the stigma around mental illness has not gone, and it is still not classed as a serious illness.
I have had depression, anxiety and disordered eating for 14 years and I’ll tell you now, 6 hour long sessions of therapy or counselling, in whatever form, are just not going to get to the bottom of my deep-seated issues, and beat my demons that have been beating me for the most of my life. It is an illness. What if little old me needs 9 sessions? Or even 7? It’s just not funded. It is easier and cheaper to shove some drugs my way, than to listen to me. This makes me sad.
I can see why people feel that there is no help, or nobody that can help. Because it feels that way. It feels like unless you have money, and pay the top dollar for an over-qualified know-it-all whose only experiences of these mental illnesses are what they have read in a book, then you can get no help.
We feel unworthy, because we’re not treated like we are worthy. But we are, we need help and we want help. It’s too late once a depressed person has taken their life, which our country has an extremely high rate of.
This has to change. It just has to. I cannot deal with this depression on my own, and it’s going to make me more depressed to watch my income depreciate each month in the search for an answer to my illness.
An illness is an illness, mental or physical. We should deal with them in the same way, and sufferers should be given therapy and counselling for as long or as short term as they need it.