My email to Andrew Jones, MP.

Mr Jones,

Thank you for taking the time to read my message. I sincerely apologise if this is a bit of a jumble, my mind is a bit of a mess at the moment, unfortunately, which is one reason I feel the urgent need to write to you.

I suffer from severe depression, and general anxiety disorder, and to be quite frank, the care I have received is shocking.
My GP is fantastic and has tried so hard to get me to the right places, however, the services are so disconnected from each other, that they do not even seem to communicate. So far, I have had 4 assessments, I have been on a ‘Healthy Minds’ seminar course – which I fed back was no help – and had 2 x 35 min sessions of CBT, before being told that I was too high of a risk for that service and that I was going to be referred elsewhere.
A month later when I had my assessment for the Primary Care Team, I spent an hour with the professional, again to be told that I was too high of a risk for the service and that I needed to be referred elsewhere.
I have previously been assessed by the Community Mental Health Team and was told that (and I quote) I’m not ill enough for their service.
The Government have committed many times now to improving mental health care – and in all honesty, if this is an improvement, I hate to think what it was like before. I live day to day in a vulnerable state of mind, and I’m constantly told that essentially, I’m not getting help because I don’t fit into a neat box.
I’ve now been going backwards and forwards within services for almost a year, and I’m yet to receive any real help.
If I had a problem with my knee, I would be able to go to my GP and get a referral to a knee specialist, who would then get me the right treatment. To go for the extreme case, if I was diagnosed with cancer, I would be referred to an oncologist, who would then see me through cancer treatment.
Depression is deadly. It leads people to believe that they are not good enough for this world and that the world is better off without them. So why is care for mental illnesses not the same as a physical illness that can potentially end up the same way? Why are we asking mental health patients to be assessed time and time again, to be passed around the services, forced to wait longer and longer times, just to be told that they’ll need to see someone else and wait yet again, scared that it might just come too late.
A friend of mine had to go into hospital for her mental health – and was asked by the service to drive herself to Thirsk, because that was the closest bed, and there was no transport for her. How is that even close to what should be fair?
I plead that you take my story to whoever you can, and ask for some real change in the mental health care in the UK. Whilst I appreciate that things take money, I’m not asking for numbers – I’m asking for action.
If you have any questions about mental health, my care in general, or if you simply want to know more about what it’s like to have these illnesses – please do not hesitate to ask.
I look forward to your reply – and apologise again if my email is rather disjointed and jumbled.
Yours,
Gareth [[surname]]
([[address redacted for my privacy]])
For reference, I have copied this letter to my blog, blackdogdiaries.co.uk.

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