Healthcare is full of them! However the more I chat with people who experience mental illness the more I see a disparity between giving a mental health diagnosis and a physical health one.
Whilst I appreciate that mental health is often difficult to diagnose and I recognise all the challenges that could come up I still think that some professionals are not taking the diagnosis of a patient seriously enough.
This seems to be a particular issue with people who have been diagnosed with bipolar but then because they don’t respond in the way that professionals expect or have strong opinions regarding their care they are then seen as difficult and sometimes without consultation their diagnosis is changed. What makes this worse is that whilst it would be rare for a physical diagnosis not to be discussed with the patient or next of kin, I have lost count how many people I know have found out about a new diagnosis by letter or by seeing it on a computer screen at the GP surgery!
It is so sad how some professionals can’t accept that a mental health diagnosis does not mean that people can’t be or aren’t capable of being fully involved in their care plan.
The anxiety of this kind of surprise misdiagnosis stays with people long after the situation is rectified (which can take months or even years). I still cautiously scan the GP screen to ensure the correct diagnosis is showing and every appointment with each professional adds to my anxiety because of past experience.
I am well aware that this is not a practice that all mental professionals follow however I hope that those that do this realise the implications of their actions and those that sensitively discuss diagnosis after a full assessment encourage good practice with their colleagues.
This is an important step in ensuring parity of esteem between physical and mental health and one which could benefit the mental health of so many people.