What do you need?

Earlier on, I got into a Twitter discussion with a healthcare provider in Leeds; asking me what it is that I want/need from mental health services in the area.

My answers consisted of shorter waiting lists, more tailored care to the individual, and how treatment should aim to give people the tools and skills to manage their problems effectively.

But they’re just my answers, and now I’m curious to see what you guys think. Is there anything that you think is more important? And not neccessarily in just standard talking therapies, but is there anything else in day-to-day life as well that you think would make your time with mental illness easier?

I look forward to your answers – there aren’t any wrong ones!

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125 thoughts on “What do you need?

  1. ImpossibleDreamerKB says:

    I have to agree with your answers, I’d say my answers would be Doctors taking the time to listen to you and giving you a care plan, Doctors giving you information on support groups and people or places that can help you, and Doctors siting down with you to hear what you struggle with and need help with and giving that help rather than just pushing you out the door with more medication!

    Liked by 5 people

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      Agreed – doctors can very much have the attitude that medication is a quick fix, and if you have anxiety and so did the person that walked through the door ten minutes ago – you must be the same and need the same treatment.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ImpossibleDreamerKB says:

        Exactly I had one Doctor who told me that people could work whilst on a certain Antidepressant so it must be my fault that the medication isn’t working! I’ve also had experiences where I’ve gone in to talk about a certain problem (non mental health wise) and they’ve practically pushed me out the door with more Antidepressants when that wasn’t what I went in to talk about! Doctors really do have the attitude that medication is a quick fix and it’s not always the case.

        Liked by 3 people

      • bylaurenhayley says:

        I’ve had some incredibly ignorant doctors over the years – “everyone your age feels upset sometimes you’ll be fine” – and many more quotes that I can’t think of off the top of my head! And the importance of a diagnosis (which I paid privately for!) was invaluable. As soon as I mentioned BPD for the first time, the doctor literally stopped facing the computer screen and turned to face me like it was confirmation that I needed help. But I always had BPD, she was just too ignorant to find out!

        Liked by 2 people

      • ImpossibleDreamerKB says:

        I hate Doctors like that. They should help you from the start and they should help you find a diagnosis it’s their job! I’m trying to get a definite diagnosis but when I went to see a Psychiatrist she didn’t care and shoved me out the door for me to find out a few months later through seeing the Doctors computer screen that she had totally misdiagnosed me and had basically said I was over emotional and hysterical when I’ve had loads of Doctors tell me that I don’t sound like I have that and the Psychiatrist should have carried on seeing me!

        Like

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      Hi again 🙂 Together We Can are an organisation in Leeds that are able to push for more effective support for people with mental health disorders. They contacted me earlier today regarding this post, as they are seeking permission from you and the other contributors to publish your ideas and opinions in their upcoming report to the mental health decision makers in Leeds.

      If you are happy with them publishing your ideas discussed on this post, please comment and let me know, however please don’t feel pressurised to say yes. You also have a choice as to whether you’d prefer your comment to be anonymous, or they can credit your blog.

      I myself live in Leeds so this is a fantastic opportunity; and whether or not you are from this small area of the world, your ideas could impact and change the lives of thousands of people that suffer with mental illness if they are able to implement your suggestions. Thanks for the fantastic ideas! Lauren x

      Like

  2. themagicblackbook says:

    Consistency.

    I want to see the SAME psychiatrist at REGULAR times, not get vague promises of “you can see whoever the psychiatrist is maybe in like October/November, although it could be 2016.”

    I want to see the SAME CPN every WEEK, not random different people turning up at my house and scaring me with phone calls from numbers I don’t recognised every 2 or 4 or 6 or 8 weeks/whenever my name pops up their system because I’ve taken another overdose.

    I want to see the SAME social support worker every 2 weeks so that I can write down the name of this one support worker on every council housing application, charity funding application or benefits application, because they actually KNOW ME and the gov/council/landlord/DWP can contact this support worker and get their questions answered – not get forwarded to someone who’s never heard of me, or a disgruntled receptionist.

    I want to feel SAFE knowing that I am seeing X once a week, Y every other week, Z once a month, Y+Z every 3 months, and my GP whenever I need.

    If I have nothing booked and am waiting on vague promises of a letter or a phonecall or an email, I am petrified and feel like I have zero support. I need consistency, I need to feel like I have a bunch of people who I can name, who I possibly even trust, who are helping me to get better and live properly so that I don’t NEED regular appointments.

    It’s total bollocks, this neverending cycle of lack of support: I feel like I am not getting help, something bad happens, I have no support, I attempt suicide, I get no help, random people promise to help me, I feel like I am not getting any help, something bad happens, I have no support, I attempt suicide, I get no help…. endless circle of bollocks.

    Argh. Sorry. Rant over xxx

    Liked by 6 people

    • lolabipola says:

      That does not sound ideal AT ALL! There is nothing irrational or impossible about your requests. Its exactly how it should be. How are you supposed to form a relationship with someone, learn to trust them, when you’re shoved from pillar to post? Its unacceptable. In my view, everything about your experiences is unethical. I really, really hope things change for you! And soon!

      Liked by 2 people

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      Don’t be sorry, rant away! This is awful but I do in a small part resonate with you. My therapist’s surgery doesn’t know how to answer a phone. So often he’d call and cancel for whatever reason and tell me to call him back, or if I’ve had to cancel for some reason – and then we can go months without another appointment because I can’t get hold of him! It’s a nightmare. I hope this improves for you soon 🙂

      Like

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      Hi again 🙂 Together We Can are an organisation in Leeds that are able to push for more effective support for people with mental health disorders. They contacted me earlier today regarding this post, as they are seeking permission from you and the other contributors to publish your ideas and opinions in their upcoming report to the mental health decision makers in Leeds.

      If you are happy with them publishing your ideas discussed on this post, please comment and let me know, however please don’t feel pressurised to say yes. You also have a choice as to whether you’d prefer your comment to be anonymous, or they can credit your blog.

      I myself live in Leeds so this is a fantastic opportunity; and whether or not you are from this small area of the world, your ideas could impact and change the lives of thousands of people that suffer with mental illness if they are able to implement your suggestions. Thanks for the fantastic ideas! Lauren x

      Like

  3. Leslie says:

    My biggest issue with my care is that the appointments with the psychiatrist are only 15 minutes. She just my pill pusher. I think that it should be required that my therapist and psychiatrist communicate with each other, which can only help my situation.

    Liked by 4 people

    • LeahL says:

      Mine schedules her appointments at 15 mins a piece as well… except then she always goes over (which means she is actually listening and talking to her patients) and that then leaves me for about an hour wait EACH time. Maybe if they booked differently.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Leslie says:

        I never mind waiting for a doctor if I know that I will get as much time as I need at my turn. But, you are right. Sounds to me like she needs to schedule differently. My pdoc NEVER runs behind. Sometimes she even takes me early. It’s get in, how are you, here’s your prescriptions, see you in a month. Bam, done!

        Like

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      Hi again 🙂 Together We Can are an organisation in Leeds that are able to push for more effective support for people with mental health disorders. They contacted me earlier today regarding this post, as they are seeking permission from you and the other contributors to publish your ideas and opinions in their upcoming report to the mental health decision makers in Leeds.

      If you are happy with them publishing your ideas discussed on this post, please comment and let me know, however please don’t feel pressurised to say yes. You also have a choice as to whether you’d prefer your comment to be anonymous, or they can credit your blog.

      I myself live in Leeds so this is a fantastic opportunity; and whether or not you are from this small area of the world, your ideas could impact and change the lives of thousands of people that suffer with mental illness if they are able to implement your suggestions. Thanks for the fantastic ideas! Lauren x

      Liked by 1 person

  4. mental mommy says:

    I agree with all of the above. In a perfect world, I would love to have my therapist communicate with my “drug dealer” on a regular basis. I feel as though a better treatment plan would be set up and more tailored for that individual. Plus, it would cut out some of the time spent having to repeat yourself over and over to each one. Also, in my perfect world, our doctors would be more educated in local support groups, which ones are active, have at least pamphlets in their office, different organizations who offer therapy specific to mental health, and the list continues…I am extremely lucky to have a very good psychiatrist who does listen, but she is a rare breed. I know for a fact that most doctors out there are not like her at all. l

    Liked by 3 people

    • lolabipola says:

      Or have your clinical psychologist able to prescribe? Initially I was against this personally, but really, its probably not a bad idea… Cut out the middle man (the pill pushing psychiatrist).

      Liked by 1 person

      • mental mommy says:

        They can prescribe at the clinic where I started therapy. I really don’t want to change psychiatrists myself bc she is amazing. I just know from our support group that the Lack of support ( other than prescribing drugs) from doctors is a concern. I listen allot to other’s problems/issues especially related to the health care. I think that’s a great idea though. I really enjoy the community on WP bc we are all in this together and have different experiences/information to provide.

        Liked by 1 person

      • mental mommy says:

        I remember the other reasons why I don’t choose that route lie in the system itself. The quality of doctors they hire for this type of system is generally low. They are over worked, underpaid, and burnt out so quickly. I didn’t mean to sound ignorant of this type of system. I guess I just meant I wish no matter who you choose to see, the two ( therapist & doctor) would be required to communicate…

        Liked by 2 people

      • lolabipola says:

        Absolutely. Whenever there are more than one person involved in a person’s care, there needs to be communication between the parties. I guess at the end of the day, its up to each of the service providers to make sure they have all the relevant information, and that would require them to ask for it. As you say, they are often overworked, and underpaid, and time constraints can make this sort of thing difficult.

        Added to this, there is the issue of privacy to content with, and some people may not want all the medical, and mental health information accessible by all medical and mental health staff. For me personally, I have no issue with that because at the end of the day, its only going to help me get the best treatment and care. However, on the other hand, my situation is such that one of my family members is a doctor, and I wouldn’t be happy for them to have access to MY GPs notes, because I shared some pretty gnarly information with him!

        So its a really slippery slope no matter which way you look at it I guess. Its a tough one, isn’t it!

        Liked by 1 person

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      I don’t think that’s too far fetched at all, do you? They should be in regular contact to help accommodate your care. It seems crazy to me that this system is dealing with potentially unstable people that can become dangerous to themselves in some situations without the help they need, and yet they continue to make it as difficult as it can be for us. And I think a basic understanding of what is going on in the area and leaflets dotted around the office isn’t too much to ask either! Even if they have a list on their computer and don’t know them off by heart. So that when somebody comes in with Bipolar, they can look at their list and reccommend A, B and C support groups within a ten mile radius – same for any physical illness too!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mental mommy says:

        Exactly! This is exactly how I see it. As a whole, we are a people who are most in need, but receive the least amount of help. And I truly believe it is simply a lack of knowledge especially in the medical community…the people of whom we are most dependent upon. Not one of the medical practitioners I have seen even knew about our local DBSA support group…which astounded me. When I was first diagnosed, I was basically handed a Bipolar II diagnosis, some meds, and a pat on the back with a “See you in a month”…and I have a feeling I’m not alone. It was up to me and my husband to find local resources, better doctors, and a therapist who knew what they were doing (and actually cared).

        I have several friends who are worse off than me…if they can’t advocate for themselves or know where to look other than their doctors, what are they to do? Then, we see our fellow “sufferers” in the news for one reason or another only adding to the Stigma so many of us are trying to break.

        One thing I am going to do to help is to pass out pamphlets to the doctors and therapy offices that I have contact with. And, maybe, I’ll ask my psychiatrist and therapist to exchange notes. Maybe these small steps will start a ripple effect…I’m sorry for the rant..

        Liked by 1 person

    • LeahL says:

      Yes! It would be really nice if the two communicated. I feel like my treatment would be better. Sometimes it becomes “well I can only do so much with your medicine, you need to talk to your psychologist and you two need to work things out”… yet my psychiatrist doesn’t realize that I already am speaking to my psychologist and it’s just an annoying cycle!

      Liked by 2 people

      • bylaurenhayley says:

        Hi 🙂 Together We Can are an organisation in Leeds that are able to push for more effective support for people with mental health disorders. They contacted me earlier today regarding this post, as they are seeking permission from you and the other contributors to publish your ideas and opinions in their upcoming report to the mental health decision makers in Leeds.

        If you are happy with them publishing your ideas discussed on this post, please comment and let me know, however please don’t feel pressurised to say yes. You also have a choice as to whether you’d prefer your comment to be anonymous, or they can credit your blog.

        I myself live in Leeds so this is a fantastic opportunity; and whether or not you are from this small area of the world, your ideas could impact and change the lives of thousands of people that suffer with mental illness if they are able to implement your suggestions. Thanks for the fantastic ideas! Lauren x

        Like

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      Hi again 🙂 Together We Can are an organisation in Leeds that are able to push for more effective support for people with mental health disorders. They contacted me earlier today regarding this post, as they are seeking permission from you and the other contributors to publish your ideas and opinions in their upcoming report to the mental health decision makers in Leeds.

      If you are happy with them publishing your ideas discussed on this post, please comment and let me know, however please don’t feel pressurised to say yes. You also have a choice as to whether you’d prefer your comment to be anonymous, or they can credit your blog.

      I myself live in Leeds so this is a fantastic opportunity; and whether or not you are from this small area of the world, your ideas could impact and change the lives of thousands of people that suffer with mental illness if they are able to implement your suggestions. Thanks for the fantastic ideas! Lauren x

      Like

  5. orangehobbit says:

    I agree with your answers as well. Also related to tailored care to the individual, I think it’s really important that MH services remember that it’s important for service users to actually be actively involved in our own treatment. Many of us have been living with our problems for a long time, and have a good idea of what helps and what doesn’t, what we want to get out of the help we receive and what issues / medication side effects are intolerable. All too often there is still this attitude of “we’re the professionals; we know best, you need to do as you’re told.” There are times when people may not be able to make decisions for themselves, and times where people may have no idea what would help, but it isn’t always the case, so I guess that comes back to seeing everyone as an individual.

    I think a more holistic approach would be helpful. Psychiatry and talking therapies are great but I think a lot of people would also benefit from more readily available occupational therapy, exercise groups and / or subsidised gym memberships, support to make lifestyle changes, and so on.

    Early intervention for ALL mental health problems. I know there are funding issues, but it is so counter productive that often people are unable to access any real help until the point where they’re suicidal, or unable to work. It’s so much harder to get back from that point, and likely to require more intervention in the end.

    Liked by 4 people

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      Thank you for your comment. I find what you say about an occupational therapy approach interesting and I have to say I completely agree. Talking therapies don’t work for everyone – in fact, I struggle with them myself – but to introduce other avenues for people to gain better mental health is a fantastic idea.

      And whilst your other two points reflect mine, you bring up some good points. The “we’re professionals, we know best” approach often prevents me from going to the doctors in the first place. I know what they’re going to say before they even walk in. They’ve dealt with a million people like me before and they do the same for every single one. Without a doubt I walk into that office and no matter what I say, I always walk away with a new prescription of Citalopram. Which in case you’re wondering, is a waste of drug, it does nothing for me. But in the moment my anxiety becomes too high to argue!

      Liked by 1 person

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      Hi again 🙂 Together We Can are an organisation in Leeds that are able to push for more effective support for people with mental health disorders. They contacted me earlier today regarding this post, as they are seeking permission from you and the other contributors to publish your ideas and opinions in their upcoming report to the mental health decision makers in Leeds.

      If you are happy with them publishing your ideas discussed on this post, please comment and let me know, however please don’t feel pressurised to say yes. You also have a choice as to whether you’d prefer your comment to be anonymous, or they can credit your blog.

      I myself live in Leeds so this is a fantastic opportunity; and whether or not you are from this small area of the world, your ideas could impact and change the lives of thousands of people that suffer with mental illness if they are able to implement your suggestions. Thanks for the fantastic ideas! Lauren x

      Like

  6. stuffthatneedssaying says:

    I wish my psych APRN had longer to talk with me. I don’t mind that I see one person for medication and another for therapy, and they do share reports with each other, but I feel like maybe my therapist doesn’t think to report things that the psych APRN might find significant. I try my best with the notes I bring to each appointment, but I always feel like I’m leaving something out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      There was a similar comment like this further up the list so it seems to be a real problem across the board. It’s difficult when you’re trying to deal with two different people, and whilst there needs to be a solution, even in a perfect world I don’t know what that solution is?

      Like

      • stuffthatneedssaying says:

        I should have specified that I’m in the US. On the bright side of this, I’m to the point where they should be making me wait 2-3 months between appointments because I’m relatively stable and my medications aren’t being changed anymore. However, my psych APRN finally caught on to what I’d been telling him, that I do better if I see him monthly, so he still sees me monthly.

        Like

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      Hi again 🙂 Together We Can are an organisation in Leeds that are able to push for more effective support for people with mental health disorders. They contacted me earlier today regarding this post, as they are seeking permission from you and the other contributors to publish your ideas and opinions in their upcoming report to the mental health decision makers in Leeds.

      If you are happy with them publishing your ideas discussed on this post, please comment and let me know, however please don’t feel pressurised to say yes. You also have a choice as to whether you’d prefer your comment to be anonymous, or they can credit your blog.

      I myself live in Leeds so this is a fantastic opportunity; and whether or not you are from this small area of the world, your ideas could impact and change the lives of thousands of people that suffer with mental illness if they are able to implement your suggestions. Thanks for the fantastic ideas! Lauren x

      Like

  7. Kitty says:

    I think your answers are pretty spot on, especially in regards to more tailored care to the individual! That’s a big problem I’ve noticed is that I don’t feel like my doctors (mental or physical) really know me at all. I have to repeat the same information over and over, each time I go in for a visit. It’s incredibly disappointing and makes me feel devalued (which can be extremely detrimental to someone dealing with mental illness).

    Liked by 2 people

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      Agreed. I have the same issue. The last thing a person needs with a mental illness is to not feel like they matter or that you’re not really getting the help you require. I’ve always found it crazy how volatile the MH system is. Long waiting lists, being passed between different people, no real communication between those different people, no tailored care – Mental illness by definition is a disorder with a persons behaviour and/or thinking. Surely messing around with potentially unstable people is the worst thing they could do!

      Liked by 1 person

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      Hi again 🙂 Together We Can are an organisation in Leeds that are able to push for more effective support for people with mental health disorders. They contacted me earlier today regarding this post, as they are seeking permission from you and the other contributors to publish your ideas and opinions in their upcoming report to the mental health decision makers in Leeds.

      If you are happy with them publishing your ideas discussed on this post, please comment and let me know, however please don’t feel pressurised to say yes. You also have a choice as to whether you’d prefer your comment to be anonymous, or they can credit your blog.

      I myself live in Leeds so this is a fantastic opportunity; and whether or not you are from this small area of the world, your ideas could impact and change the lives of thousands of people that suffer with mental illness if they are able to implement your suggestions. Thanks for the fantastic ideas! Lauren x

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Antanika says:

    OOOO good question. Im in Australia. In my experience when you go to see a GP here about mental illness they mostly seem to turn straight to meds, and then send you off to a counsellor that spends half an hour telling you why THEY think you are having problems. They seem to not care as much about the individual. They don’t know enough about us to actually know what we need. And by the time you’ve gotten to the counsellor you are already on the pills they tell you to take. There’s just not enough individual support.

    Liked by 1 person

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      Completely agree with your statement here in the UK as well. Regardless of what I need and want, I ALWAYS get put on Citalopram that does nothing for me, and the doctor starts delving into deep dark secrets so that they can tell the therapist before I get to them. The fact that my parents divorced when I was 9 (like so many others!) is not the reason I am like this, give over! They think they know best because they’re incredibly intelligent people, but it’s the opposite of intelligence to completely play by the book and ignore the individual.

      Like

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      Hi again 🙂 Together We Can are an organisation in Leeds that are able to push for more effective support for people with mental health disorders. They contacted me earlier today regarding this post, as they are seeking permission from you and the other contributors to publish your ideas and opinions in their upcoming report to the mental health decision makers in Leeds.

      If you are happy with them publishing your ideas discussed on this post, please comment and let me know, however please don’t feel pressurised to say yes. You also have a choice as to whether you’d prefer your comment to be anonymous, or they can credit your blog.

      I myself live in Leeds so this is a fantastic opportunity; and whether or not you are from this small area of the world, your ideas could impact and change the lives of thousands of people that suffer with mental illness if they are able to implement your suggestions. Thanks for the fantastic ideas! Lauren x

      Liked by 1 person

  9. The God Extinguisher says:

    Living in a country with free health care helps a lot but what I find most important is trust.
    I need to trust the doctors, cbt-personnel, psychologists and all the other personnel.
    I’m lucky enough to have a fantastic “team” on my side.
    It’s not like that on all places here (Sweden).

    I trust my team with my life BUT I have a healthy scepticism towards new medicines and read a lot about new discoveries just to be able to make educated derisions.
    I find the more I read, the better decisions I can make when I’m sick (up or down).

    Also speed is a factor.
    If you get the right help fast, it can save your life.

    Like

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      Speed is a massive factor, agreed.

      You’re the first person that’s mentioned trust but I have to completely agree. I think it kind of relates actually to the earlier comments of “they don’t get to know me and treat me like an individual” – if that doesn’t happen, you therefore don’t trust them, and then the treatment isn’t going to be successful.

      I think it’s very good of you though to keep researching and gaining knowledge on these subjects, especially if medicines or even therapies are going to be used on you. You know yourself better than anyone else and so it’s vital that you feel both comfortable with what is happening, and also you probably have a better understanding of if it has a chance of working for you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The God Extinguisher says:

        Sorry for not replying. It’s summer in Sweden and that means a lot of work in my case. Also I try to go without as much medication during the summer and tend to be very careful with what I read & write.

        Yes trust and speed. Very important. With speed comes a faster recovery and/or treatment AND society saves money, lives and the life quality of the patient is better.
        Trust because, as you write, we need trust to be able to take in what doctors, psychologists, therapists and others say.
        We all have to make informed decisions about treatments, medication and we have to be able to get involved in our own recovery/treatment.
        Without trust, that is impossible.

        Like

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      Hi again 🙂 Together We Can are an organisation in Leeds that are able to push for more effective support for people with mental health disorders. They contacted me earlier today regarding this post, as they are seeking permission from you and the other contributors to publish your ideas and opinions in their upcoming report to the mental health decision makers in Leeds.

      If you are happy with them publishing your ideas discussed on this post, please comment and let me know, however please don’t feel pressurised to say yes. You also have a choice as to whether you’d prefer your comment to be anonymous, or they can credit your blog.

      I myself live in Leeds so this is a fantastic opportunity; and whether or not you are from this small area of the world, your ideas could impact and change the lives of thousands of people that suffer with mental illness if they are able to implement your suggestions. Thanks for the fantastic ideas! Lauren x

      Liked by 1 person

  10. lifeofmiblog says:

    Where I go in Sydney all the appointments are thirty minutes minimum, they often take longer. Certainly tailored treatment is essential with consistency in who you see…you need to build a relationship with the therapist.

    Liked by 1 person

      • lifeofmiblog says:

        No problems at all. The longest you might have to wait for an appointment will be a couple of weeks. Getting the care you want can be a bit more challenging but still it will be personalized….obviously not all doctors are good doctors.

        Like

      • lifeofmiblog says:

        Yes it is expensive but comparatively good. We are levied through our taxes and then we still need to have personal health insurance which costs us hundreds of dollars a month. But when I was hospitalized for a month last year I had a private room with my own bathroom- it was like a hotel room – I had access to three psychologists and my own psychiatrist as well as a mental health program. The stay cost my health fund $26,000+. They have also continued to cover the ongoing costs for psychiatrists, psychologists and programs.

        Like

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      Hi again 🙂 Together We Can are an organisation in Leeds that are able to push for more effective support for people with mental health disorders. They contacted me earlier today regarding this post, as they are seeking permission from you and the other contributors to publish your ideas and opinions in their upcoming report to the mental health decision makers in Leeds.

      If you are happy with them publishing your ideas discussed on this post, please comment and let me know, however please don’t feel pressurised to say yes. You also have a choice as to whether you’d prefer your comment to be anonymous, or they can credit your blog.

      I myself live in Leeds so this is a fantastic opportunity; and whether or not you are from this small area of the world, your ideas could impact and change the lives of thousands of people that suffer with mental illness if they are able to implement your suggestions. Thanks for the fantastic ideas! Lauren x

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Iphios says:

    I agree with your answers. In my case though, I come from a country where mental health isn’t even in the discussion. It still has a stigma attached to it and very few facilities cater to the needs of people with mental issues. I am lucky though that when I came to my therapist she took her time listening and talking to me. We spent over an hour in my first session. She didn’t push medication on me and asked me what I wanted and made her recommendations. Eventually, I took medication, but the goal was to wean me from it as soon as I have the tools to manage my depression.

    I think mental illness should be addressed not only with the fast prescription but with actual tools. Diagnosis should also done with care. The client should be educated on the diagnosis. 15 minutes does not cut it. One single assessment test isn’t sufficient. I am a psychologist and I have met a few people who have been diagnosed and was immediately asked to take meds. They come to me with all this questions and anxiety and fears because the psychiatrist wasn’t able to explain things to them.

    Liked by 3 people

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      I agree. In your case medication may have been correct in the end (after going through all the possibilities!) but it’s not for everyone and more has to be done to help than just that. Unfortunately, the person you have to see to get an appointment with a pysch is a doctor, and medicine is what they have been educated to know and trust.

      It’s fantastic that you have received sufficient care that you are happy with though. Where abouts are you from do you mind me asking?

      Like

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      Hi again 🙂 Together We Can are an organisation in Leeds that are able to push for more effective support for people with mental health disorders. They contacted me earlier today regarding this post, as they are seeking permission from you and the other contributors to publish your ideas and opinions in their upcoming report to the mental health decision makers in Leeds.

      If you are happy with them publishing your ideas discussed on this post, please comment and let me know, however please don’t feel pressurised to say yes. You also have a choice as to whether you’d prefer your comment to be anonymous, or they can credit your blog.

      I myself live in Leeds so this is a fantastic opportunity; and whether or not you are from this small area of the world, your ideas could impact and change the lives of thousands of people that suffer with mental illness if they are able to implement your suggestions. Thanks for the fantastic ideas! Lauren x

      Like

  12. Animal Farm says:

    Our “mental health system” needs a makeover as badly as our political state. All these hoops to jump through. One of the MOST IMPORTANT necessities for mental health is proper medication and availability. Worlds get turned upside down when medication is not dispensed to some. Being BiPolar isn’t a handicap, but when I don’t take my meds it can sure seem like one. Not only for myself but for my circle of people I am in constant contact with. All the psychology, science and chemisrty out there and we still can’t get the much needed independent attention one needs for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. We are however gaining more consciousness that there is a serious lack of approach to help people that seek it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      See you have the opposite problem to everyone else. Not getting the medication instead of it being thrown at us with no other help. Medication, especially for disorders like bipolar like you say, is incredibly important and it’s disgusting if it’s therefore difficult to get ahold of. Mirroring what you’ve just said, it can be hugely detrimental to you and the people around you if you don’t take it and I hope this improves for you really soon.

      Independant attention is the big one though. That’s the issue everyone’s spoken of no matter what the disorder. This is something that definitely needs to change on a global scale by the sounds of it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      Hi again 🙂 Together We Can are an organisation in Leeds that are able to push for more effective support for people with mental health disorders. They contacted me earlier today regarding this post, as they are seeking permission from you and the other contributors to publish your ideas and opinions in their upcoming report to the mental health decision makers in Leeds.

      If you are happy with them publishing your ideas discussed on this post, please comment and let me know, however please don’t feel pressurised to say yes. You also have a choice as to whether you’d prefer your comment to be anonymous, or they can credit your blog.

      I myself live in Leeds so this is a fantastic opportunity; and whether or not you are from this small area of the world, your ideas could impact and change the lives of thousands of people that suffer with mental illness if they are able to implement your suggestions. Thanks for the fantastic ideas! Lauren x

      Liked by 1 person

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      I’d go as far as saying 90% of the time it isn’t helpful. As soon as my therapist rocks up with a diagram he’s lost me. They need to actually listen to us and see what we want and need, I completely agree.

      Liked by 1 person

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      Hi again 🙂 Together We Can are an organisation in Leeds that are able to push for more effective support for people with mental health disorders. They contacted me earlier today regarding this post, as they are seeking permission from you and the other contributors to publish your ideas and opinions in their upcoming report to the mental health decision makers in Leeds.

      If you are happy with them publishing your ideas discussed on this post, please comment and let me know, however please don’t feel pressurised to say yes. You also have a choice as to whether you’d prefer your comment to be anonymous, or they can credit your blog.

      I myself live in Leeds so this is a fantastic opportunity; and whether or not you are from this small area of the world, your ideas could impact and change the lives of thousands of people that suffer with mental illness if they are able to implement your suggestions. Thanks for the fantastic ideas! Lauren x

      Like

  13. Billy says:

    I’m not sure how I feel reading everything here (here meaning specifically on this page but also many other blogs around, good post by the way). On one hand I feel reassured I am not alone in my struggles to get to see someone. On the other other I feel that perhaps not seeing someone, while I can still manage, is probably for the best. I was happy and relieved when one GP with enough caring in her gave me Diazepam, which worked wonders and made me functional until I felt it was too much and gave it up after a year or so (I know how many bloggers would be horrified at this!).
    I substituted it with a harmless and very effective B12, and when finally understanding my anxiety problem and GP agreeing with social anxiety diagnosis was given Propranolol and THAT was wonderful, plus I was FINALLY referred to the mental health team. Who wanted to initially assess me through a phone call!! Now, the phone is one of my anxiety triggers. I lived in a small house with my children in it, I REALLY did not want to discuss my mental health with my children around, nor did I want to go outside in the garden and discuss it there.

    Now I have moved home and area. I have to call at awkward hours for an appointment with the GP to return on regular medication AND restart the mental health assessment process. Do I really want to do that?

    Long story short: cut out the middle man. Let specifically trained people decide whether or not you need counselling, meds or what have you. Leave out the GP, dependant solely on whether you are lucky in the person you see. And especially, consider a process that doesn’t trigger terror and anxiety on people who already have to battle themselves, the mental health stigma and their own fears to even talk to services in the first place.

    Sorry, long rant. Just so happens your post was very relevant today 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • LeahL says:

      I don’t even like the fact that they think they can assess you over the phone. (trigger or not) Let’s make things more personal. Mental illness isn’t contagious… we can talk to others face-to-face

      Liked by 2 people

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      Hi 🙂 Together We Can are an organisation in Leeds that are able to push for more effective support for people with mental health disorders. They contacted me earlier today regarding this post, as they are seeking permission from you and the other contributors to publish your ideas and opinions in their upcoming report to the mental health decision makers in Leeds.

      If you are happy with them publishing your ideas discussed on this post, please comment and let me know, however please don’t feel pressurised to say yes. You also have a choice as to whether you’d prefer your comment to be anonymous, or they can credit your blog.

      I myself live in Leeds so this is a fantastic opportunity; and whether or not you are from this small area of the world, your ideas could impact and change the lives of thousands of people that suffer with mental illness if they are able to implement your suggestions. Thanks for the fantastic ideas! Lauren x

      Liked by 1 person

      • Billy says:

        By all means, and I have just moved to the Chesterfield area, and would love to contribute as far as kids and work allow me to! I was even looking into offering volunteer counselling, though not having my own car doesn’t help. But yes, in the meantime, please go ahead 🙂

        Like

  14. Me says:

    This is an awesome post and really interesting to read 🙂 Me and my partner came up with:

    – Seeing a psychiatrist regularly. I saw my psychiatrist once a year before we discharged ourselves from the system…it’s not enough. And the appointments were always either 9am or 9.30am, and they know my meds cause huge sleep issues >__<

    – Professionals need to be able to offer support and advice. We would go see our social worker when we felt a manic / depressive episode beginning, and they would say wait until it's a crisis. We would go when we were in crisis and they would tell us to "wait it out"…not helpful. We recently left the care of our social worker and now have no support at all.

    – To treat you delicately when you are struggling. I had been in a depressive episode for 12 weeks and was struggling with suicidal thoughts…instead of focusing on that the social worker bullied me into talking about some really traumatic things when I was already vulnerable. I ended up breaking down and now won't see them again.

    – Make switching to a different GP / psych / SW easier. Sometimes you just don't gel, and sometimes they don't know much about mental health problems, so you need to switch professionals. Being told you can't switch, or making you talk to the person and tell them why you don't think they're right for you, is very stressful.

    – To have professionals actually listen and know what they are talking about…when we were first trying to get help I was psychotic, and someone from Single Point of Access actually told us I couldn't experience hallucinations unless I took recreational drugs. Stuff like that is not helpful and destroys trust in the patients. Also by the time I stopped seeing the social worker, they ended the appointments after 15 – 20 mins, despite the slot being for an hour

    – To actually provide you with information about your illness and the medications. My first psychiatrist forced me on an anti-psychotic after talking with me for just fifteen minutes. He didn't talk about side effects or tell me why I needed it, and four months later I had gained 2.5 stone despite no difference in lifestyle. I've also never had a professional sit me down and talk about a crisis plan, a care plan or give me information on bipolar…we kind of got left in the dark and had to do it ourselves.

    Sorry…I didn't mean to go on, not when you've already got some great replies, I just thought this was a great idea 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      No carry on, I wanted lots of answers! it’s disgusting really isn’t it, I read through your comments and none of them are asking for too much; they’re just basic care that should be given to every patient. Thank you for contributing and I hope your struggle with the services become easier!

      Like

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      Hi again 🙂 Together We Can are an organisation in Leeds that are able to push for more effective support for people with mental health disorders. They contacted me earlier today regarding this post, as they are seeking permission from you and the other contributors to publish your ideas and opinions in their upcoming report to the mental health decision makers in Leeds.

      If you are happy with them publishing your ideas discussed on this post, please comment and let me know, however please don’t feel pressurised to say yes. You also have a choice as to whether you’d prefer your comment to be anonymous, or they can credit your blog.

      I myself live in Leeds so this is a fantastic opportunity; and whether or not you are from this small area of the world, your ideas could impact and change the lives of thousands of people that suffer with mental illness if they are able to implement your suggestions. Thanks for the fantastic ideas! Lauren x

      Like

  15. dreamandflutter says:

    I agree with all your answers. One I think, but is also counter-productive to shorter waiting times is changing the quantity of treatments. Although I know in reality anything is better than nothing, and the NHS is stretched as it is, not to add our lovely government is going to fuck them over even more. From personal experience my healthcare provider has done CBT sessions in 8 session ‘blocks?’ and once that’s over you’re thrown back to the admin/assessors team before you can continue with it or you’re placed on a completely different treatment e.g. workshops.

    For me I find it takes me a while to reap any benefits from any form of treatment and by the time I’ve started to get to grips with something I’m either seeing someone completely different or been referred for a different type of treatment/exercise. Whereby the only real thing I gain is having someone I feel comfortable talking to, but it doesn’t help me to overcome my anxiety / depression.

    I also think there’s a problem on the diagnosis end. I started to realise there was something wrong when I was a teenager, but my family doctor fobbed it off as hormones and the usual teenage angst and I should concentrate on breathing. But he never told me how to? So then I had this fear of getting help, in case another person was to suggest the same. It wasn’t until I came to Uni that I had seen the doctor about an anxiety-related symptom that she had tactically coaxed the truth out of me. Three years later I found out she was the doctor in the practice that specialised in mental health and it was just pure luck she was assigned to me!

    Like

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      Completely agree with both of your points. The fact that you’re only assigned a certain amount of sessions actually puts me off using them altogether because I feel ‘what’s the point?!’. Diagnosis was also really difficult to me. I got all the usual teenager stories as well. I actually paid to go private in the end for my diagnosis and now the doctors take me more seriously. Although I’m relieved, it makes me so angry that I went through all of that being pushed aside for years and so many others will be going through the same!

      Like

      • dreamandflutter says:

        I’m sorry you had to go to that extent just to get a diagnosis. Part of me hopes it’s different now for teenagers, especially with campaigns from charities reaching the public and celebrities talking about their experiences. I mean when I was a teenager I can’t remember ever hearing about mental health, unless it was in fiction. Plus MySpace was all the rage, so was being emo/alternative etc. so I wonder if doctors just assumed it was just a ‘phase’?

        But at the same time you’re already vulnerable when you’re a teenager, intervening as early as possible makes such a difference. I understand the anger, whenever I think that I’ve been suffering for a third of my life and I’m only now starting to get help/recover, it sounds bad, but I kinda feel robbed of my youth because of it.

        Like

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      Hi again 🙂 Together We Can are an organisation in Leeds that are able to push for more effective support for people with mental health disorders. They contacted me earlier today regarding this post, as they are seeking permission from you and the other contributors to publish your ideas and opinions in their upcoming report to the mental health decision makers in Leeds.

      If you are happy with them publishing your ideas discussed on this post, please comment and let me know, however please don’t feel pressurised to say yes. You also have a choice as to whether you’d prefer your comment to be anonymous, or they can credit your blog.

      I myself live in Leeds so this is a fantastic opportunity; and whether or not you are from this small area of the world, your ideas could impact and change the lives of thousands of people that suffer with mental illness if they are able to implement your suggestions. Thanks for the fantastic ideas! Lauren x

      Like

  16. David M Zuhars says:

    Hi Lauren, since moving back to the US I have found that more and more doctors and mental health people here are recommending meditation and actually teaching you how to do it. In the 15 years I lived in England, none of the mental health people I saw ever mentioned meditation or really even knew what it was. I have a daily meditation routine and have found that it has done far more for me in a year than anyone was able to do for me in England. Even 5 minutes a day can make a huge difference.

    Like

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      Hi again 🙂 Together We Can are an organisation in Leeds that are able to push for more effective support for people with mental health disorders. They contacted me earlier today regarding this post, as they are seeking permission from you and the other contributors to publish your ideas and opinions in their upcoming report to the mental health decision makers in Leeds.

      If you are happy with them publishing your ideas discussed on this post, please comment and let me know, however please don’t feel pressurised to say yes. You also have a choice as to whether you’d prefer your comment to be anonymous, or they can credit your blog.

      I myself live in Leeds so this is a fantastic opportunity; and whether or not you are from this small area of the world, your ideas could impact and change the lives of thousands of people that suffer with mental illness if they are able to implement your suggestions. Thanks for the fantastic ideas! Lauren x

      Liked by 1 person

      • David M Zuhars says:

        Hi Lauren, I am happy for them to publish my post and it would be great if they could credit my blog – I need to get my story out. My brain is starting to shut down from being away from England for so long so I am extremely challenged when it comes to communication. If I can help to prevent what is now happening to me from happening to other people at least I will have accomplished something. I am actually American but my wife and children are British and England had become the first place I could finally call home.

        We lived there for 15 years but I had to leave because one of our children died and then my wife’s mother died and we got stuck in the welfare system because we couldn’t find mental health support. If I had know about meditation then, this would have never happened and my family and I would be living happily together in England.

        Meditation is allowing me to survive but being trapped over here away from my home in England is an on-going nightmare. And now I have found out that I was probably exposed to Agent Orange when we lived on Okinawa for 2 years while my father was in the Vietnam War which could have caused brain damage. There is no help for veterans children here.

        Thank you for helping people like us to get the word out and change things.

        Like

  17. TheDreamingPanda says:

    I agree with your answer of needing more individualized, tailored care. Adding to that, I think more doctors need to be open to the possibility that physical health problems can cause (or at least exacerbate) mental health issues.

    As someone who suffers from PANS/Autoimmune Encephalitis (a “physical” illness with severe psychiatric symptoms), over the years, doctors blamed my depression and anxiety for causing my “physical” symptoms (extreme sleepiness, involuntary movements, severe fatigue, etc.), when in reality, it was the physical illness of my antibodies attacking my brain that caused both the “mental” and “physical” symptoms.

    No amount of talk-therapy or anti-depressants ever lead to lasting improvement for me, but doctors continued to insist that I was physically ill because I was mentally ill. It’s absolutely true that mental illness can cause physical symptoms, but when someone doesn’t respond to typical treatments, doctors need to step back and consider something else. I could’ve been spared years of suffering if one doctor had believed me when I said I was depressed because I was ill, and if that doctor had persisted until they figured out what was really going on with me.

    I know I’m the minority in the mental health community–most people with psychiatric conditions don’t have antibodies attacking their brains. Even so, there are still thousands with my disease who will never be diagnosed or receive adequate care because doctors aren’t willing to entertain the idea of a confused immune system causing mental disorders. But I also think that, for everyone, no matter the cause of the mental illness, doctors need to be more willing to look at a person as a whole, considering all the symptoms and daily struggles and treating a person accordingly.

    Like

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      I think this is a really interesting answer taking it from the complete opposite angle; but I think you’re right. Yours is the rare case and therefore other methods are inevitably going to be used first to try and fix it, but after a couple of failed attempts and the individual being set on the idea of something bigger being wrong, doctors should step back and try a new approach. Like you say, you’re by far not the only person that suffers with PANS and I’m sure there are lots more physical conditions that could be causing mental illness. Thank you for commenting, you’ve taught me something!

      Liked by 1 person

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      Hi again 🙂 Together We Can are an organisation in Leeds that are able to push for more effective support for people with mental health disorders. They contacted me earlier today regarding this post, as they are seeking permission from you and the other contributors to publish your ideas and opinions in their upcoming report to the mental health decision makers in Leeds.

      If you are happy with them publishing your ideas discussed on this post, please comment and let me know, however please don’t feel pressurised to say yes. You also have a choice as to whether you’d prefer your comment to be anonymous, or they can credit your blog.

      I myself live in Leeds so this is a fantastic opportunity; and whether or not you are from this small area of the world, your ideas could impact and change the lives of thousands of people that suffer with mental illness if they are able to implement your suggestions. Thanks for the fantastic ideas! Lauren x

      Like

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