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NHS Failing Mental Health Patients


After reading this article I was curious to know how have peoples experiences over recent years been regarding the NHS and its approach to mental health? Have you found your GP's and local health authorities helpful or has it been a constant struggle to get the help you needed?

9 Replies

Most of the professionals I have seen have been helpful and caring (some less so, including some therapists....) but the problems is with the waiting lists and the process of finding the right therapist.

A few years ago I was sent to a mental health team in the city I had just moved to, they told me they were not trained to deal with my problems and sent me to another counsellor, who told me she was not trained to deal with my problems and sent me to another counsellor, who told me she was not trained to deal with my problems and sent me to a psychotherapist for eating disorders (which I had been recovered from for years) because she said it would be easier to get me an appointment that way.

I then waited for 18 months and started seeing the psychotherapist, who unfortunately was not a pleasant man or a good therapist. After six months of gradually feeling worse, I switched job and could not make my usual appointment time so I phoned the therapist to rearrange. He never got back to me and I gave up trying to contact him.

Two years ago I was referred to the local CBT services. Still waiting for an appointment. I was diagnosed 12 years ago, but I have had very little time with therapists and a lot of time being given pills or sent to psychiatrists, who spend ten minutes with you then tell you to take more pills.

So yeah. I would say that almost every professional I have met has been very caring and empathic and they are trying their best. But the system does not seem to be working. They seem very underfunded to me.


HI, i found my last gp did not have time for anything mental health and the physical side of it. every time i had a physical problem he just automatically said it was the anxiety instead of getting me checked, he blammed all the problems and pain of my monthly cycle on my mental health problems when actually i have all the symtoms of endometrioso which is very hard to detect even with surgery. my new docters are much better but still feel there needs to be more compassion for people with mental heath, i think most of us feel very mis-understood. the services and availibility of help for mental health is pretty poor and needs to drastically change.


I have had better help in the past but I had a bad relapse so went back earlier this year. I can honestly say the help I have had this time has been truly dreadful. Today it reduced me to tears. If she had said to me just pull myself together and get on with it that would not have surprised me at all. I dont expect to be invited back to her house for tea and sympathy nor the whole NHS to stop what it is doing just to help me but a little bit of kindness in her voice and attitude would have gone a long way. When she asked me if I had had any thoughts of suicide and I said yes by jumping out of a window, she asked what stops me. I said because I wouldnt because I might not be successful and just end up breaking my neck and then being in a worse situation. (anybody out there in a wheel chair please dont think I am demeaning your life in any way and saying that it is worse - I hope you would understand) She replied well at least you have a reason for not doing it. That was it, nothing else. Then said I will ring you again in a few weeks to see how things are going. Nothing like, I can understand your distress, stick with it, but contact the Crisis team if it worsens. You can get through this.

Still its my fault. I hated her from the first second we spoke. I had initially gone to to my GP in December and by end May hadnt had any acknowledgement from the mental health team he had referred me too. when I rang and queried it, they said they couldnt find the referral so I had to go to the bottom of the list from then. I asked was there any way I could be put up a few notches on the list as they had lost my referral - I wasnt asking to go to the top just put up a little bit to where maybe I should have gone if they had doen the right thing with my papers in December. She said no, I would have to wait like everyone else and they hadnt lost my papers they just couldnt locate them and that was different. Her words not mine.

so I had my assessment and she gave me another appt a few weeks later, when I turned up she said - why was I here - I said because I have an appt and she said no you dont, I think I have got you mixed up with someone else. We dont need another appt she said I have done your assessment and given you some handouts and I will give you a ring each month to see how you are getting on.

So I dont feel particularly supported.


I was waiting 11 years before I was finally diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. I have taken several overdoses and self harmed quite badly recently, but the doctors and psychiatrists are all saying I do it for attention, which is not the case at all. I have an appointment with the local health team, which I am not looking forward to as last time I was there I had one appointment and when I asked when my next appointment would be, I was informed I didn't need another appointment.

I am still waiting to be referred to DBT, and I have been waiting over a year for that. There have been no follow up appointments. When I have seen a medical proffessional including psychiatrists, I have not once felt at ease, or comforted, or even supported. I felt more like I was being judged and taking up their valuable time.


I have read your messages and quite agree with you, I have written in before stating that I have panics, agoraphobia, anmd monophobia ( cant be alone even in my own home ) I have seen two specialists over the last 7 years, about CBT, and was told that I have suffered too long with these problems, and it would be a waste , they started a group down my doctors but the same things were said, it is disgusting. My husband has altizheimer, now depression nas set in, I have been on meds over 40 years, but am still the same. I have been told to tell myself I have not got these feelings, it would do them good to have a panic, tney may understand. Lindenlea


In Scotland it failed me and thousands like me. If you get the change, watch the BBC Scotland Investigates programme from 19 July. It's probably in iplayer.


Hi everyone, I've struggled along with GAD for about twenty years and my experience of the NHS has been very mixed over that period. I've found the most difficult thing has been to get a diagnosis - which I finally got at the end of last year after being told for years that I just had 'mild depression'. The second most difficult has been to actually get to see a human being rather than a packet of pills.

However, the times that I have felt that NHS staff have been less than good have, now I think about it, the times when I felt most vulnerable. Maybe this affected my reaction? I dunno.

All I can say is that my current GP is very good and that locally we have this new rapid intervention CBT team that has cut waiting times (although my GP's secretary neglected to send my referral letter initially. When she did I had an initial appointment within two months). However, I do realise how lucky I am and I feel for those who are still running up against brick walls.

Is there a national campaign somewhere that we can sign up to in order to get this changed?


Some interesting stories here, sad to see so many people that have been let down by their local GP or health authority. I have just started visiting a private therapist for the very first time. She seems very good, however I suppose she is getting paid : s


I'm 19 and used to be covered on my dads private health care because I was in full time education now we pay £400 an hour to go to the priory and we can't really afford it so I stated to see my gp again, I asked for one of the therapys available on the nhs but the said no because I had private healthcare, then was told I would have to pay if I wanted to do lithe therapy thru them

I Am NOT HAPPY they fail to many people


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