Therapy and the NHS

Today I had my second session of NHS therapy for my anxiety.


I wanted to report on how it went but there really isn’t much to say – it was a fairly brief and pointless session where we spoke about the exact same things as last time.

I have a love/hate relationship with the NHS. Sometimes they help me, sometimes they don’t. I appreciate that every large system has its flaws and we’re lucky not to have to pay for our health care, but the circles I go around to get what I need is usually the most draining and time-consuming process ever.

The word that first comes to mind when I think of them is ‘frustrating’, which I’m sure isn’t in their mission statement. But the fact of the matter is, for people with mental health concerns it can be an absolute nightmare and whilst we don’t need to be tiptoed around and I’m not saying we’re anymore important than people with other conditions – if you’re dealing with potentially unstable people, stop making life so damn difficult for them.

If I go to the doctor once more needing some proper help and walk out with bloody 20mg Citalopram I’m going to lose it. If someone needs a particular drug to help them then that’s absolutely fine, I’m pro-drug in that instance. But not everyone that walks in to the GP with a problem needs a drug, and they definitely don’t all need the same pissing one!

My stance is this:

I would personally rather pay for a service that I want instantly, because having the treatment immediately is of more value to me than the money. I paid for my psychiatric assessment whereby I received my diagnosis’. I now pay for my hypnotherapy. If I went to the NHS wanting these things, I’d be both taking Citalopram and sitting on aΒ very long waiting list.

But if it’s something that I’m not in desperate need of, I’ll wait, and wait, and wait, jump through a few hoops, wait some more and then finally get the treatment I asked for. And that’s what I did for this therapy. It’s been months and it’s now finally starting to move along a bit.

Not loads though evidently, judging by the useless session I’ve just had.

It always reminds me of something an Australian friend once said to me about the NHS. She summed it up pretty perfectly in my opinion:

I used to envy that you guys have the NHS, until I moved here and needed a doctor’s appointment.


26 thoughts on “Therapy and the NHS

  1. Depressionless says:

    I know it must be frustrating but I first this post funny, especially the last quote. I’ve had about 6 CAMHS counselling sessions through the NHS and we talk about the same things every time (and they wont give me a proper diagnosis). I was going to give up but know they have given me some medication to try. Don’t get me started on the time I had to go hospital…


    • bylaurenhayley says:

      It’s actually ridiculous. One of my best friends works for the NHS – Just in admin but within the mental health sector so she obviously knows a lot of people like councellors etc. She’s very pro-NHS, but even she cringes and finds it hard to back them up when I talk to her sometimes it’s crazy. The receptionists at the place I go to now don’t answer the phone. You’re a mental health ward. I could be in a really dangerous situation for all they know, it makes so angry that they don’t answer.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. twenty7zero3 says:

    Thank you for writing this. I feel like you understand my thoughts on this entirely. The NHS and the system and getting heard and getting help… well, it’s all a bit difficult isn’t it!?

    Keep posting about this, as I’d love to know more.


    • bylaurenhayley says:

      I’m sorry to hear you’re in the same position but glad I’m not the only one! It’s ridiculous it really is. Another thing that drives me crazy is that they wouldn’t pay attention to me until I had my diagnosis’. But they wouldn’t give me an assessment to get a diagnosis. So I had to go private. Now when I walk into the doctors and talk about my conditions, you can see them shift and start to pay attention. Hang on a minute – I’ve been dealing with these same conditions for the last 10 years, I just didn’t have a name for them because you wouldn’t give me one!

      Liked by 1 person

      • twenty7zero3 says:

        Well I’m really glad that you went private to get your answers. I was half tempted to go private with my health care, but I think it would be so expensive :/ How did you go about getting a private assessment? Did your GP know?
        I used to see the GP’s at the Light, when I was at Leeds Met and all I ever heard was you have anxiety… yeah thanks doc. Great Help 😐

        Liked by 1 person

      • bylaurenhayley says:

        Oh another Leeds Met-er! I use Laurel Bank in Headingley – but in honesty none of them are ever very useful! I didn’t tell them, no. I googled private pyschiatric assessments. I was on my placement year near London and I used.. Clinical Partners. It cost me about Β£300 I think. It was expensive but it made everything easier. It makes me angry because I had these problems before I was given a name for them, but now when I walk into the GP they pay attention. I get so much more help then I ever did before. I guess they don’t want something going wrong on their conscience!

        Liked by 2 people

      • twenty7zero3 says:

        The only thing GPs worry about is getting sued. It’s pathetic.
        Have you written a post about what happened during your assessment? I’d like to read more about it.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. therabbitholez says:

    As I’ve said NHS is underfunded especially when it comes to Mental /health, and I don’t see any real money going into it despite Nick Cleggs assertions.

    I find it annoying that they just medicate you and give you a leaflet with a number to call if things get worse, and you have to fight and be a pest if you want other treatments that might be available in your postcode.

    Doctors who are terribly over worked and can only give you 10 minutes, for diagnoses, in the mean time your suffering gets worse.

    Citalopram, the newest drug of the last 3-4 years either slowed me down so much that I was almost comatose, or ramped up my symptoms depending on how I was feeling,(have you read the side effects!!!!!)

    I’m a fan of the NHS but in some areas like Mental Health they don’t really come up to scratch.


  4. lifeofmiblog says:

    There are pros and cons for sure, but the cost of private can completely exclude many people. I have been paying private cover in Aus for around forty years and currently pay around $600 a month, but a trip to the dentist for a six monthly check still costs me over a hundred dollars on top of my insurance. My psychiatrist can cost me $150 on top of my insurance (fortunately my shrink has started just accepting the insurance payment as full payment as he knows my financial situation). Very soon I will have to drop my insurance because I can’t afford it, so at the point in your life when you really need it, you have to drop it…there really is no good system!


    • bylaurenhayley says:

      Of course – I’m a student so I definitely couldn’t afford to pay private for everything. Also I don’t think there’s need to. If you have something physcially wrong with you the NHS is usually brilliant at sorting it out, it’s just what they can’t see where they have an issue!

      Liked by 1 person

      • lifeofmiblog says:

        Yeah understand that. I love the idea that NHS will pay your transport to get to and from the hospital…here they won’t even call a cab for you!


  5. Fumbling Through Therapy says:

    Sounds like the Medicare/Medicaid system here in the U.S. Yes, its free (or low-cost) but it barely covers anything, you wait forever for appointments, then wait forever to actually SEE the practitioner, and it’s sub-par (if not damaging) healthcare. Especially for mental health services. Ridiculous.

    Liked by 1 person

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      Usually around 3-6 months after you’ve been referred. But being referred takes some convincing sometimes in the first place. I get private care if its something I feel is urgent – but my hypnotherapy for example is costing me Β£300 so it’s not cheap. When it comes to physical health theyre much quicker but mental health services have an incredibly long waiting list and I think they’re considered much less urgent

      Liked by 1 person

  6. chels1995 says:

    I was given 4 sessions and a 6 week ‘stress and mood management’ course to attend when I visited the doctor as he didn’t want me to go straight onto medication without trying talking therapy. The course was fantastic and really informative, however the therapy I found was the same as you, He gave me sheets to document my progress but never looked at or discussed them with me, half the sessions he would talk about himself and I didn’t bother attending the last one as the previous 3 we had spent 45 minutes talking about the same things and I wasn’t getting anywhere. I find it a little sad that after that they sort of leave you be without any other means of support. I started this blog at the very beginning of this journey as a way to express myself because of how useless I found the therapy sessions. x


  7. twenty7zero3 says:

    What do you mean by testing yourself?
    Today’s a good day. I’m nice and calm which is a good change. I think I am at a point where I am just taking each day as it comes πŸ™‚


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