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Suffering the NHS (2 part)

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Well-Known Member
I've started 2 threads here because I want to try and achieve 2 things.

In this thread I want us to talk about what experiences you've had with the NHS so far as treatment for depression, bi-polar, psychosis, and other mental illnesses are concerned. Was your experience good or bad? has it helped you, were you refused access to treatment that might have helped you, how hard did you have to fight. Also have you not approach the NHS for help because you are afraid, what could be done to allay that fear? Were you ignored, did you have to hurt yourself in order to be taken seriously? Have you resorted to private treatment or given up entirely because of your experience?

I'm getting this information with the idea of perhaps forming some kind of charity / political pressure group.

I would welcome input from all of you not just those of you from the UK, although I am mostly interested in the health services here in the UK. Also any information about how things are differently else where, if it is better or worse, what options there are privately and how effective those are.

Depression is a massively growing problem in society and somebody needs to stand up and take it seriously.

(Please note, I've created the threads here, because I thought people may wish to contribute anonymously, especially where it might concern criticising your GPs / therapists etc. But if this thread is abused or spammed I'll ask to have it moved)


Staff Alumni
Good idea.

My first psych was NHS, he was good, though i only got to see him about once every 6 weeks. I was offered a counsellor through NHS but i ended up seeing my uni counsellor as it was quicker.

My GP when it all started was really good, took it all realy seriously and when i told him i was feeling suicidal he arranged an urgent psych review for the next morning.

All my GP's since haven't been as good (only changed due to moving) as they've just kind of washed over it. Since moving here (about a year ago) i was told i would not be able to get counselling or psych as the waiting list was way too long and i would not be a priority.

Before i moved here i saw a private psych and therapist. They were brilliant, saw my therapist once every week and my psych just reviewed things every couple of months. It's a shame i had to go private to get such good treatment though.

Hope that helps.


Staff Alumni
I've had the same GP since I was born :)

When I was depressed and feeling suicidal.
I told her this, and then answered her questions honestly etc, and also showed her here that I reached out here, and then she said that I was going through a 'bereavement process', and just give myself time to work through it, and also that I should maybe get some exercise, as that would change thoughts, at least temporarily, and make them focused on exercise, rather than how I was feeling emotionally.

She was (and is) very supportive, and is a great GP :)

I've had good experiences with the NHS - they saved my life when I was a baby, so, for all the wrongs they have done, they are in my book, a good organisation, doing a bloody good job in appaling pay conditions and resources.


Well-Known Member
I was 16 when I first started feeling depressed and as a result of my emotions I started cutting my arms. I went to see my GP and she made an urgent referral to CAMHS (child and adolescent mental health services) and I got an appointment to see a psychiatric nurse specialist the same week. I have to add that I think the cut off age for CAMHS is actually 16 but I was referred to child services as the waiting list for adult mental health was too long.

I ended up being admitted to a paediatric ward in January 2004, which, as you can probably guess wasn't the most appropriate of places for a 16 year old suffering from acute depression/psychosis. I was told by the nurse specialist for CAMHS that I had to be moved to an adult psychiatric ward. This was terrible and again, wasn't suitable in the slightest (to make things worse it was a locked ward).

I eventually ended up in a private hospital (The Priory) due to the lack of adolescent units in the UK.

I think the lack of mental health resources is disgusting. If I was to become ill and needed hospitalisation again, I'd have to go to my local nhs hospital, which is possibly the worst place to be. The 'treatment' in this ward consists of medication at 8am, 'therapy' which includes listening to a relaxation tape for 10 minutes and the rest of the day is spent sitting in a plain, dull and depressing room reading magazines over and over again. It's not helpful in the slightest.

The comparison between NHS services and private healthcare is an absolute joke.

Note: I know some good comes from the NHS (Accident and emergency, critical care units, surgical wards etc). I'm just stating my opinion on the mental health side of things.
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Ok, my story starts off outside the NHS but then it will go to the NHS part, so please bear with me.
I started feeling suicidal February 2004. In September 2004 I began self harming (properly, that is. Possibly before that for the absolute start, I don't remember). My parents didn't notice. In January 2005 one of my friends told the school, and I was hauled into the guidance office. They told my parents the next day - the day before my 16th birthday - and I was given an appointment with the school psychologist, you know, one of the ones who travels round a bunch of schools on different days dealing with the problem cases. Anyway, I saw her. My parents told me how stupid I was for cutting. She tried to tell me I wasn't. Anyway, she told me if she believed I was in danger she would have to tell my parents, because that was her job. So I didn't tell her as much as I COULD have. I told her most of it, just didn't go into as much detail. Anyway. So, she reported back to my parents, after a bunch of appointments - we decided it was exam stress and stuff. She didn't believe I was depressed but she sent me to my GP anyway because she thought it would "put my mind at ease", as she put it. To cut a long story short, my mother doesn't like our GP, but they all work in a health centre here - I live in a pretty small town, it's not even in the same town but in the next, bigger, one - so I got an appointment instead with this other doctor. Older, nice, and I'd always liked him. He was always very nice to me.
Well when I went to see him he asked me to show him my cuts - which I did, I just didn't care - and then he asked me if I ever heard voices telling me to do things. Then he asked some other questions. I don't know how long he took, it felt like ages at the time but it was probably only about 15 minutes :laugh: If even that. And so then, he said "You know, doing five Highers just isn't for everyone. I myself took six..." Blah blah blah, basically saying how smart he was and how not everyone could be that smart, just be content in your mediocrity and stop trying to do too much. This made me slightly mad but mostly I just felt...stupid.
Anyway he said "I don't think you have depression. You were able to look me in the eye while you answered my questions. The depressed people who come in here don't do that, they keep their heads down." Then he went on to say how he couldn't prescribe me anything even if he'd wanted to, because I was under 18, and then he told me he was referring me for a psychiatric assessment.
Weeks later, when I finally got the appointment for the local mental health centre place...The psychiatrist I saw looked harassed, tired, overworked. When she asked me questions I tried to answer them honestly. Then she started giving me hypotheses. When none of them fitted, she began to look really frustrated, and I felt bad for frustrating her, so I just agreed with what she said for a couple times. Then she said that I didn't have depression either, that I was "a normal teenager, just with a few problems" and that I maybe needed to keep an eye on my schoolwork and stuff.
Once I realised no one was going to do anything, I just went back to school, lied my ass off to the psychologist...she decided I was a miracle (and said so)...didn't study and still managed to pass my highers...and subsequently, two more qualifications...and now I'm at uni...until October 2006 it just kept getting worse and worse. However then good stuff happened and the black moods only came back sporadically. December-January though, they got worse and lasted longer. Now most days have at least a little bad in them. My parents don't help any. But even if I wanted to, I wouldn't go back to the NHS again, because they won't do anything, because last time they implied that I was wasting their time, and I don't want to do that again.
That the kind of answer you were looking for, Matt?

Afterthought: worth noting that in dealing with a chronic illness of my mum's, and in a problem I had with my foot, they were very good? It's just when there's no PHYSICAL problem they start to get worse...


Well-Known Member
Abacus - you're lucky. My life's so chaotic that I've never really lived in the same place for more than a few years. This makes it particularly easy for me to keep falling through the plentiful gaps in the NHS's services.

My experience: I started having emotional problems when I was at school. I was sent to a psychiatrist, who asked me if I heard voices, and lost interest pretty quickly when I said I didn't. I went for a few sessions of CBT but didn't get much out of them (though I was such a rebellious teenager that I was probably pretty difficult to help).

In the 10 years since I've had a pattern of massive ups and massive massive downs, but my distrust of the medical system led me to seek treatment only for insomnia, not depression, preferring to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol (great plan). I was nonetheless diagnosed depression and prescribed Seroxat, which did not help, but I told my GP it did anyway and stopped taking it, while my problems continued. And again: another town, another depression another doctor, more Seroxat, and that's it.

This last year has been so unbearable, with moodswings controlling my entire life, that I determined to get the proper treatment. I went to a GP, and confessed how I felt, and she asked me to come back in 2 weeks. I went back, and she diagnosed depression and prescribed Citalopram. After 3 more weeks it was worse than ever so I went back again, told her I feared that I might have bipolar disorder and begged to be sent to a specialist. No chance. She said that the psychiatric services wouldn't even accept her referral and instead she pointed me in the direction of my university's counselling service (I'm still waiting for an appointment). She said that if I came back in another three weeks and it was still bad then she might think about raising the dose a little. Guidelines are guidelines, you see, she can't deviate from the protocol.

Yesterday, I was self-harming (another one of my oh-so constructive coping strategies) and it got a bit out of control. I ended up in the Accident and Emergency department of my local hospital. The doctor who stitched me up was very sympathetic, but once again I was told that my case was not high-priority enough (because I hadn't attempted suicide) to be referred to any psychiatric services.

The fact that you can't get any sort of specialist mental health care on the NHS unless you are actually psychotic or suicidal is a disgrace. I've no doubt that sooner or later I'll be one of the two, but by then it will be too late.

If someone were in this much pain from any other cause, they would be sent to a specialist. Why is it ok to leave people in agony just because the agony is mental?

LeaveMeAlone is right, something has to change. Depression is epidemic - it's frightening how many people are affected, and it costs the economy billions, through people suffering from this illness being unable to work. Proper treatment for mental health patients would almost certainly pay for itself. The doctor I spoke to today said that a dismissive attitude towards mental health concerns, particularly depression, is typical in the higher reaches of the NHS and the governments. Somehow that has to change. This is a real and debilitating illness and helping the sick is one of the fundamental reasons why we we pay our taxes, isn't it?

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Staff Alumni
Hmm.. well I've been depressed for over 3 years. It took me some time to go see my gp who prescribed me prozac straight away. Things got worse and the prozac didn't work so I went back, and think I caught her on a harassed day because she upped the dose but was very dismissive. I was really upset cos I could see that if they hadn't worked even a little bit then just giving me more was pointless. I spoke to my brother (a psychiatric nurse) and he was really mad and told me to go back, so I did and saw another gp who changed me on to something else. These didn't work either and I was getting more and more suicidal. I was seeing a counsellor privately and after about 6 months of this I told her that I was going to kill myself imminently. I went to dr's and then was referred to psych service, who I saw within about a week.
I was assessed by cpn & psychiatric registrar. They diagnosed clinical depression and I was then supposed to see the psych and cpn for short term (6 week) cbt. I saw the psych once more before she was moved and then saw another twice before she left. After that I saw the consultant, although I'd asked not to see a man. The first few appointments with him had me petrified every time he moved. :sad: He is ok, I suppose just a bit cold and clinical. I eventually got used to him and persuaded him that hospital was not the best place for me. He now is convinced of that (no point with someone who is chronically suicidal) even when sometimes I now wonder whether it might not help when I'm at my worst!?
The cpn was less than useless. She was bullying and dictatorial and made me feel as if I was not only incredibly stupid but also a terrible burden to her. On the occasions when I phoned her in crisis, she mostly advised me to go out. The last occasion I od'd I phoned her and told her that I was about to kill myself. She again advised me to go out, even though I told her that I'd only just come in. I put the phone down and took the pills. Despite knowing I'd a history of attempts she didn't phone back.
Eventually I was referred to a psychologist. I waited 10 months for the assessment and weeks before I was to get one managed to get a psychologist via the charity route. He is very good.
As for the crisis number I was given to the local psych hospital... the last time I rang them in crisis I got someone who told me it was all my fault because I'd turned my back on God. It really wasn't what I needed to hear at the time, and I never phoned back.
I have to say thougth that apart from the one blip my gp is absolutely and wonderfully amazing. She told me that she will fit me in for an appointment at any time and she always has, even if I phone at the last minute. She demonstrates that she really cares in so many ways, so definitely, not all the NHS is bad.
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Well-Known Member
Somebody from the crisis team came to visit me at home. They asked if I have cut myself, and I said yeah. Anyway, he turned round and called me selfish and told me to stop upsetting my family. I have never been so insulted. It was like he was implying that I self injury for 'fun' or just to annoy my family. Of course that wasn't/isn't true. Ignorance :dry:


Staff Alumni
I just wanted to add that i full support the NHS, sure it has it's faults, but in my opinion that's the government's fault for making cuts. there is not enough money and not enough staff to help everyone, and the staff that are there are stressed and over worker. Things are being done to try and change the state of the mental health services in the NHS, but as everything these things take time.
Well yeah, I mean, as with everything there are good people and not-so-good people, people with specific strengths. I guess it just depends who you get. I'm glad that some of you have found good people to help you :) But reading these stories, the other ones have made me sad. It's horrible that even while you were hurting so much they seemed not to care :(


Well-Known Member
My first experiances of the NHS in regards to mental health services are actually very poitive. I first went to see a GP about depression when i was 16. My mum had found out that i had been self harming and was suicidal so made me go. She came to the appointment and did most of the talking. My GP then referred me to CAHMS and i got an appointment within 2 weeks. I then saw a nurse weekly and a psych every 2 months or so. The psych gave me meds which were monitored closely. So at the the start my experiance was positive. I feel here i must add that my mum is one of the leading Child Psychologists for the NHS in the area that i live and so i know for a fact that she pulled a lot of strings to get me an appointment quickly. Also because she is one of the top psychologists all the nurses nd psychs i saw new her and worked hard with me because of this.

As my mental health worsened i was put into an adolescent psych ward for people aged up to 18. Again here i was lucky because out of the 2 wards near here my mum got me into the best one. The ward wasnt bad, there was a school attached, therapy, meds, etc. However one of the main problems was lack of stimulation. There was alot of time sitting around staring at walls because there was nothing else to do. Obviously this is not a good thing for people with mental health problems who need to stay away from their thoughts. Also there was very few times u cud have any time alone, we slept in dorms, ate together, and spent the day in the day room. The staff at the hospital were not as good as those i had dealt with before, and the psych was terrible. She didnt listen to what the actual problems where instead she told u wat the problems were and if u tried to disagree then u were being "uncooperative". However over all it wasnt that bad and i spent 3 months there.

My problem came when i reached 18. Because i was part of the CAHMS service this works with people usually up to 18 and so i had to move on to a new service. Here i kind of got lost in the system. I was transfered to adult services but never got an appointment and my case at CAHMS was closed because i was 18. I havent had much mental health treatment since, although this is partly due to me not seeking further help.

Anyway thats my experiance.


Staff Alumni
I just wanted to add that i full support the NHS, sure it has it's faults, but in my opinion that's the government's fault for making cuts.
Actually, though I hate this government I think we have to be fair and say that they have put billions and billions into the NHS. The problem is partly mismanagement and partly a culture in the NHS that this is the way that things have to be. I saw a very interesting programme on BBC2 recently which brought one of these troubleshooters in to Rotherham hospital to try and get waiting lists down and he had a hell of a job, because people wouldn't make simple changes which would make things better, because "this is the way it's always been done."

I also largely support the NHS but think that mental health provision is a very poor relation, and too many people have been shit on. However, I'm also aware that it's not just this country... people from most parts of the world represented on here seem to have very similar complaints.
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Well my experience of the NHS have been pretty good. My GP has been fantastic. The first time i went to him saying i was depressed he arranged for me to see someone and i saw a psychologist within a few weeks. I stopped those sessions because i felt that were making me feel worse, so i went back to the doctor and he put me on anti depressants straight away and when i told him that i thought the anti depressants hadn't been helping and was honest with him about something, that day he arranged from me to have an emergancy psychiatric review. So im my experience its been pretty good when regarding depression.



Staff Alumni
I think it also depends on what part of the country you live in.... there is at least a year waiting list for a psychologist in my area now (up from around 10 months when I was first referred).
Well i was 19 at the time, but my doctor reffered me to a adolesants department so i saw someone alot quicker. Plus i live in London so for me to see someone in a few weeks is pretty good in my opinion.


Well-Known Member
There is a 2 year waiting list for a psychologist here, but apparently if I'm refered to the psychiatrist who then refers me to the psychologist, then I can short cut it.

I've been getting a little desperate of late, and went to see the crisis team yesterday with my dad, (my dad unfortunatly, seems bent on this need to believe that the system works, and so it must be me who is being uncooperative) I was a little irrational yesterday, but this is because not only had I been treated really badly in hospital, but I was also totally off my head on (ODed remember) drugs (which can induce paranoia and hallucinations) Although nobody seemed to be the least bit sympathetic to this.

The woman that I saw really wasn't very smart, she insisted that she must be right simply because she knew better than I did, and would not accept that I had done my research, nor was willing to see it, to confirm it.

She quickly came out with all the standard cliches for why I shouldn't kill myself etc. and became indignant, when these did not work on me. (Why she was of the opinion that she could fix me there and then I don't know)

Her primary suggestion as to why I should not kill myself (and consequentially have to continue living in pain) is that it would be selfish of me, because of how it would affect the person who would find my body, when I explained that my plan included setting up a time delayed email so that it would be the police and not my sister, she still continued with this, she asked why that would be better, I said because it was the policeman's job, she said, oh is it? do you not think that we sometimes get policeman here? because of how there are affected?

it was just rediculas because rather than see I was correct, she just wanted to argue, I mean an logical person would know, that, whoever found the body, the police would still be called to the scene. And even if it caused someone to loose some sleep that night, or for the next few weeks, that is nothing compared to what I live through everyday. AND THEY CHOSE TO BECOME A POLICE OFFICER!!!

How can you respect the opinion of someone so retarded?

I was upset because they kept me in the medical ward rather than transferring me to the psychiatric ward (apparently this is because they were full, although not what I was told at the time)

When I told the woman that I was going to go home and try to kill myself again, she blackmailed me, she said that if that was the case, she would have to hold me there, until they could section me, she said that because i'd wanted to go to the pysch ward tho, that she would make sure that I didn't, she told me that I would be here for a long time, because there would be lots of things to sort out.

What gets to me the most is that there all expect me to still be optomistic, at one point she told me to cheer up, I was glad when dad finally just left, I wanted him to see first hand, what the service was like, but instead he just saw what he wanted to see.

I'll try and post more on my escapades with the NHS later, but please keep them coming people, the stories are awful, but it's all really useful information.
My doctor diagnosed me with "major depression" when I was about ten years old. He did not perscribe me any treatment, despite the fact I told him I was suicidal, and at the time I had been starving myself as a form of self-harm. Instead he just sent me away.

When I was fourteen I was sent to BAS (Barnet Adolescent Clinic) to be assessed by a psychiatrist. It took her two sessions to analyze me, afterwards she said the staff had decided to go on holiday for 2 weeks. Whe they arrived back she said there was a vacancy for me to see their psychotherapist, unfortunately she wanted to stay and chat to me and my Grandmother about her (the psychiatrist) problems with her daughter. This went on for about five months, before she told me there was no time for me to see the psychotherapist because it conflicted with the timetable I have for College. The woman was crap at her job, she couldn't even remember simple things like my name, age, etc. and never took down notes of what was discussed each time I saw her (staff are required to take notes to document what work they have done).

A review was done a while ago on the clinic:

I'm still sick and receive absolutely no support from the NHS.


Well-Known Member
As soon as I was admitted to the local psychiatric ward I wanted to come out. Once I stayed in overnight and the next morning asked to see a doctor for discharge. Thankfully I was sectioned in a private hospital. :laugh:

Once I was on a childrens medical ward for acute psychosis and the medical consultant told me to compare myself to the patients who had cancer, cystic fibrosis and other physical conditions. According to her I was well and should stop 'feeling sorry for myself'.
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As soon as I was admitted to the local psychiatric ward I wanted to come out. Once I stayed in overnight and the next morning asked to see a doctor for discharge. Thankfully I was sectioned in a private hospital. :laugh:

Once I was on a childrens medical ward for acute psychosis and the medical consultant told me to compare myself to the patients who had cancer, cystic fibrosis and other physical conditions. According to her I was well and should stop 'feeling sorry for myself'.
That medical consultant obviously doesn't know anything about the human brain then - I think anyone who's ever read up on depression knows that psychosis is caused by an imbalance in brain chemistry - it's physical, not something you can just stop feeling. I think if everyone could just stop feeling depressed then Suicide Forum wouldn't even exist!
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