‘It’s a national scandal’: 15 stories which show the state of mental health care in the UK

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It's a national scandal

It’s a national scandal

It’s a national scandal

mental health care

In his speech at this year’s Liberal Democrat conference, Nick Clegg pledged an end to the ‘outrageous discrimination’ in the treatment of mental health illness in the NHS. When we asked Guardian readers about their experiences of mental health care in the UK, more than 700 people got in touch. They told us of long waiting times, over-reliance on drugs and often a lack of compassion and understanding when it came to treating mental illness. Here are 15 of their stories. You can see more on our blog dedicated to mental health

Almost three years ago I was diagnosed with an eating disorder,after telling my doctor for more than a year that I needed help. But because it wasn’t anorexia or bulimia I’m getting next to no support because “it won’t kill me right away”.Over the last three years I’ve had two appointments with the mental health team in my area. After the first one they made an internal mistake and thought that because I didn’t turn up for an appointment they hadn’t told me about that I wasn’t interested in getting any more help.They never contacted me to confirm.I had a breakdown shortly after (in which I received no support) and it took me more than a year to be well enough to tackle this again, since it was like getting blood from a stone. I managed to finally get another appointment in May this year, this time with a consultant psychiatrist, who told me what had already been confirmed – that I had an eating disorder.

He was very thorough and gave me a few options to ‘tide me over’ until I could finally get properly assessed to see if I could get any help.

What? That’s what I thought I was doing.

Also it turns out that this specialist can’t see me until at least January 2015.

Anonymous, Falmouth
With cancer there is treatment, support, counselling basically whatever you need. With mental health issues there’s next to nothing. Hide
I have two daughters. One is being treated for breast cancer and the other has had mental health issues for almost 20 years.The daughter with cancer was diagnosed in 2011 and has had exemplary treatment from the NHS. She’s now back in employment and is getting married in October.My youngest daughter on the other hand has had virtually no help from the NHS during the many years of her personality disorder and as a result her condition has worsened. The effect over these years on all those close to her has also been more catastrophic than having a daughter with cancer.

With cancer there is treatment, support, counselling basically whatever you need. With mental health issues there’s next to nothing.

The experience we’ve had with mental health services suggest that they’re only focused on making excuses not to provide treatment and shuffling those affected off to live on benefits for the rest of their lives. It’s a national scandal.

Paul, Essex

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