Nearly a month ago my GP re-referred me to the Liason Intake Team part of the Community Mental Health Team (CMHT) in my local trust. Even though I am bipolar and have been receiving mental health treatment for 17 years I was discharged a couple of years or so ago and therefore my GP coordinates my care. As I have mentioned before she is excellent but felt last month that I needed further support.
I was promised previously that if I needed CMHT intervention that it would be easy to access, that I wouldn’t need to wait for ages or explain to loads of people a summary of the past 17 years. Each time I need a referral back to CMHT I come up against similar challenges so this referral is sadly not a great surprise.
A month on in this referral I am no nearer any support and in fact a conversation I had with the CMHT yesterday just left me exasperated and added to the mental distress that I am currently experiencing.
What is incredible is that when I called yesterday to chase the referral I was given no update, no apology or understanding regarding the wait and worst of all no one asked if I was ok or how I was getting along. They couldn’t get me off the phone quick enough – this is far from quick easy access to the CMHT.
In addition to that, I know I will have to go through an assessment before any further support is offered and the likelihood is that there could be another huge gap between assessment and any support being implemented. Even worse is that after assessment and all of this uncertainty I could be referred straight back to the GP without any on-going support.
I am no better than a month ago and the poor mental health care does have a huge negative impact and certainly increases my distress. As I get slowly worse I find it harder to speak to people I don’t know and so the well organised approach from my doctor of referring when I reached the point I did will slowly become useless. It also means that I am more likely going to end up accessing crisis care services in unequipped Accident and Emergency departments possibly in acute mental distress.
I have done what I can to help myself, especially over the last few weeks including paying for some online counselling to try and get some consistant care. I hope that when well this will become another useful tool in my Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) toolkit but at the moment I am just grateful for the support even though I am paying for something the NHS should be providing.
If any healthcare providers read this can I ask you to ask the question “does someone with a history similar to mine really need another assessment and surely some support could and should be implemented quickly?”