Last week I was assessed by a CPN at CMHT. Despite presenting as suicidal and not wanting to live (due to bereavement) the CPN recommended counselling with an outside agency that I would have to contribute to. I was distraught and told a GP I had had enough. GP contacted CMHT and i was told i was forcing them into sectioning me. After further discussion I said I was OK and the CPN checked with me that I was then took my word for it, end of call. I will never understand how one minute the CPN was talking about a section and the next I was ok

How have others got on with a CPN and their assessments?

I have to wait 4-5 months for bereavememt counselling and I am not sure I can wait that long. Where is the support?

31 Replies

  • Hello.

    It seems an unfortunate set of circumstances when the only immediate help you can get is by being sectioned?!! I am so sorry for how you are feeling, it cannot be easy. Then on top the mental health services don't seem interested unless you're about to be sectioned.

    It isn't right they couldn't help you with something sooner. What were you hoping for?

    I'm sure someone on here can point you in the right direction for bereavement counselling. I hope you can get to something sooner.

    Mental health services need major investment in the NHS. It must not just be there for crisis cases. It should be there for everyone who may need it.

    How are you feeling now? I wish you well, best wishes 💗

  • Thank you so much for your reply. I have been in touch with CRUSE and an outside Agency for counselling support which I have to pay reduced rates for. Both have waiting lists of 4/5 months. Will speak to GP when she returns from annual leave about any help in meantime. Guess I was hoping for CPN support similar to that I received 10-12 years ago. I guess things have changed since then.

  • Hi I emphasise as I tried to get NHS counselling last year due to depression and suicidal thoughts. Unfortunately it is heavily rationed in my area now and I was refused. It seems there is no help now unless you can pay for it.

    It's a very short sighted approach but I hope you can find the help you need soon. Take care.

  • Hi Lilaclil, thank you for your reply. I have been in contact with CRUSE and an outside counselling agency, both require donations/reduced payments and both have waiting times of 4/5 months. The waiting does worry me as I feel I need the help now. Plan to see my GP when she returns from annual leave.

    Cannot believe state of mental health services.

  • Well it's part of the running down of the NHS I guess. I fear it is being privatised through the back door and it will get a lot worse than this.

    I really hope you can get some help soon. If you see your GP and push for it s/he might be able to push for more immediate help for you.

    Meanwhile there is a bereavement site on here which is very good.

  • Thanks Lilaclil, I have noticed the bereavement group and have clicked on 'to follow' but not had chance to look at it yet (bit scared as my emotions are very close to the surface when it comes to bereavement). Came across this group and finding everyone so supportive.

  • Hi I understand that. I am on the site and everyone understands so it might help to share feelings? That's your choice of course but they are lovely on there. We can all cry with each other.... xxx

  • Cruse offer bereavement support and cover a lot of the U.K. They can. Come to your home and meet you and it's free. There may be a little wait because everyone is a volunteer so deman often outstrips they amount of time they can give but they have all been trained and usually are helpful. Or there is often an IAPT service in your area. They often have short wait times, a few weeks, and can offer group and individual help. They come under different names so you might have to search for it. There are also phone numbers you can ring for support I the immediate term such as Samaritans who are really good when you are having a bad day. In some places you are even able to go an see them face to face. Mind also have groups but these are often during the day so it deleted Es if you work. If you do work companies often have some counselling service bought in so contact occupational health. I hope some of these are helpful. There is support out there it just takes a bit of searching for.

  • Hi Sarah11111, thank you for your reply. I have contacted CRUSE and an outside counselling agency. Both have waiting times of 4/5 months. I have contacted the Samaritans on many occasions and agree they offer a fantastic service. I will look into any IAPT service, thank you for this information. MIND may also be worth exploring.

  • Who does the CPN work for?!

  • Hi Finglas-Boy, the CPN works for NHS Mental Health Team in South West England.

  • In which case you have an established route to express a grievance. I'm not saying you have to complain @ this stage but you certainly have cause to express concerns. In my work I often find myself using the phrase "meaningful dialogue". That would appear to be missing here.

  • Thanks Finglas-Boy. I like the words "meaningful dialogue" and will bare them in mind.

  • Do you have a PALS (patient liaison service) in your area? They might intervene on your behalf.

  • Thanks Hamble. I have been away from mental health services for 10+years so do not know what is available locally. Will see if there is a PALS locally. Thanks again for your suggestion.

  • It would seem they may have been trying to frighten you, although it is hard to say.

    Generally they need to get a recommendation say from a Crisis Team, or your Doctor and CPN you would then be taken to hospital and further tests and assessments will be taken

    To be honest the way things are in Mental Health you really need to be at risk or a risk to someone else before they take you in.

    If you can talk to your Surgery there may be a Mental Health Day Centre in your area. In my old town I was Information Officer there for ten years. They used to give several free sessions of talking out FOC for members, You will also be given support from members and Volunteers etc


  • I agree I think you are fairly safe, they try every alterntaive first before sectioning these days it is a last result which involves a thorough assessment and high risk. in my experience they will get you to agree to certain things and offer increased crisis support to help keep you out of hospital.

  • Hi Sarah11111, I think the CPN by threatening sectioning, his actual words were "Are you forcing me to section you" to which I replied "No. You are forcing me into a corner......" At that time I was suicidal. I think the CPN had just gone to extremes. I do not understand it at all and it has left me thinking that I will not ask for help in future.

  • I really do not know what the CPN was trying to do. I have been referred to the mental health team three times in my life. I had regular CPN support on two previous occasions. This recent episode they do not seem to want to know. I accept resources are over stretched but cannot understand this response. Will be talking to my GP when she returns from annual leave to see what she has to say. I have a good relationship with my GP.

  • Hi borderriever, thank you for your reply. I have responded to your comments after my response to Sarah11111 below. I forgot to put your name at the top but wonder whether you would have been notified of my reply - i am still getting used to how this works. I would add that there is a Mental Health Day Centre locally but they do not offer counselling services. Thanks for your comments once again, LottiesWeb

  • Hi. I lost my partner a month ago. Please me anytime. I have Cruse seeing me tomorrow for an assessment. I'm near London. I am sorry for your bereavement. I might appear ok but I'm not really. Thinking of you. I also have depression and ME.

  • Hi mysmugcat, thank you for your reply. I am so so sorry to learn that your partner passed away only one month ago. It is early early days for you and I feel for you. Try and take the best care of yourself you can, do not expect too much of yourself right now and seek any help you think you may need. Your grief and emotions may well impact on your M.E. I hope you get on ok tomorrow with your CRUSE assessment. Let us know how you get on. I have found Pinterest very helpful with 'grief quotes' etc but it is not for everybody.

    My partner died at home and we had regular visits from End of Life Carers. We had the saddest of times but also the funniest and most special of times. I am so glad my partner was at home and this brought him and me such comfort.

    Take care mysmugcat, thinking of you.

  • Ty for your kind reply and I'm so sorry for your loss. I cared for my partner at home though he eventually passed away in hospital and I was there. I miss him. I am so shattered physically and mentally. Cruse were fine when they came round ty. I will have to wait months for counselling. I'm on a slightly higher dose of anti depressants now. My partner had cancer. May I ask what your partner had? TC. Thinking of you. You can pm

  • i was refered to see a cpn after i started to self harm 2 years ago. after going through all the usual questions and relating to my personnal start when i lost my wife of 19 years at the age of 37, we had a 5 year old child. i had then had a break down. and my son was placed in my sisters care. i got into trouble with the police. i ended up spending 6 months at her majestys convenience, after speaking with social work and the police. i found out the the sheriff wanted to make an example of me as i was in a position of respect in my work place, and the currant crimes for this offence were on the increase. my low level of offence and mitigating circumstances presented to the sheriff meant nothing.

    after my release, i was put on 6 months supervision order, and i had developed a good working relationship with the police and social work. although in the community, i was seen as a parrayia. i was attacked and threatened on a number of occasions. it broke me even further. i got to the stage i couldnt cope. i am an insulin dependant diabetic, and had planned to pump myself full of insulin before i went to sleep.

    i eventually spoke to my gp, and he refered me to the local psychiatric team. i had a basic meeting with a cpn. at this meeting they ran through the usual questions and forms before getting into depth about the main reasons for me referal. so i opened up and told the the back ground. then i told them my plan, but i said i had a son and that was my only saviour at the time. but if anything happened, ie. social work refused my visits or if anything tragic were to happen, then id just go and leave this planet.

    the cpn told me that they could do nothing for me, i had the plan and i had the means to carry out my plan. they couldnt stop me. if i were to then i should just do it, but they didnt think i would as my son was my lifeline. there was no compation and no recomendation for bereavement counciling. nothing. it was a case of you can if you want, and we caant and wont stop you. well let you gp know we dont need to see you again.

    2 months later i started self harming and it was then i was re refered, but this time i saw a different cpn. she was fantastic, and after 16 months of working with her, i have a much more positiveoutlook on life. im not saying ill never have off days, but i hope they wont be as bad, and that they wont turn into bad weeks or months.

    the system doesnt always work as it should. there are some people in the wrong jobs, but they arent all as bad as my first cpn. i hope for your sake and peace of mind, you get the right help, and speak to the best people.

    there is always a brighter day around the corner. please take care, and listen to the help. if they arent listening to you, seek other help, and explain the reasons why you dont want the first cpn. take car, and god bless,

    kevin x

  • Hi Kevlar and thank you for your reply. I am glad you received good support following a very negative response when you asked for help initially. I am hoping my GP will help me find support when I next see her. At the moment, understandably, I do not want to see a CPN again and do not feel I can wait 4/5 months for counselling without some support.

    I wish you well and thanks again for your reply.

  • Hello Lottiesweb,

    I do hope you get the help from your GP.

    How lovely your partner had the end of life care that was more of whet he wanted. That must be a great comfort 💗

    I'm not surprised you can't wait 4/5 months! It's a joke.

    We are here for you, take care of yourself, eat well and gentle walking if you can, help clear your head. I find it helps a lot.

    Keep in touch, best wishes 💗

  • Thank you for your reply Clazzy78.

    I have just started trying to look after myself and eat more healthily this week. I do try to get out for a walk but cannot do this everyday - I agree it does make you feel better.

    Plan to try and bring GP apptmt forward by 7 days but want to make sure CPN assessment letter teaches GP before my GP apptmt. Wait for it, letter from CPN to GP delayed by 7 days due to end of May Bank Holiday. No CPN team meeting that week!

    Will keep you posted.

  • I don't know how it works but are you able to ask to see a different CPN, ask for a second opinion maybe? As you know from your past experiences they are not all like this, also being from the south west I have nothing but good things to say about my CPN and she makes sure I see her regularly aswell as putting other things in place. I think it must be hard for them as to what to know what to do with us when we feel low enough to feel suicidal as this must be something they have to try to work out on a regular basis...who means it and who is crying out for help? However this does not excuse the fact that a 4-5month wait is ridiculous and some support needs to be put in place for you in the time leading upto this, good luck with your doctor. At least you have a good relationship with them, hopefully they will have a solution for you.

    Take care.

    L x

  • Thanks Lx91 and I understand what you are saying. I have made one attempt on my life approx 12 years ago. Had regular CPN support when needed before. GP and MHT aware that if I make another attempt I will make sure I succeed. Always said to me that if I feel suicidal to get help which I have done. I am not the type of person to use suicide as a cry for help. So will wait to see my GP and see what she suggests. Thanks again and you take care too.

  • I didn't mean attempting as a cry for help but people saying they feel must be hard for them to understand who is really willing to go the next step. I feel suicidal every day but don't feel like I will act on my thoughts and I guess that's where their struggle is. I really hope you get the support you need from your doctor and with any future contact you have with your CPN.

    L x

  • Hi Lx91, sorry if I misinterpreted your reply. Sometimes the English language is so hard to comprehend and I am English. Thanks.

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