I beg you, on behalf of us all. Protect us from being cruelly abandoned.
Austerity has offered us a double edged sword. We are unfit to work and so exist in poverty, and our hope of ever being well enough to work is getting dashed by the cuts in funding to mental health services and charities.
I appreciate deeply how CBT is now being rolled out to more people, but this is a superficial therapy, for people who will benefit from unlearning maladaptive behaviour and change their toxic thinking. However, this therapy is not appropriate for those with complex conditions. I myself have been told that and was sent on to services that would cater for people with complex conditions. Sadly this area has no funding, so after assessments I like many others was told a variety of reason which blamed me for not being suitable for this therapy. People have heard a long list of reasons –
you are not really motivated (which is entirely subjective no matter how much you try to prove you are motivated)
you are too intelligent and thus resistant to therapy!,
Fear of what will happen if the you recover is another factor!
Fear of judgment.
Fear of rejection
Fear of assuming greater responsibility.
You are not ready for in-depth therapy if you have not harnessed your coping skills for anxiety and panic, then delving in to traumas will make you dangerously worse
You have a personality disorder
you are unwilling or not trying hard enough
you are not applying or using tools you already have
you are not intelligent enough to understand
The reasons given to abandon the most mentally fragile from support is endless. With an NHS service, if you are told you are unsuitable, this means you cannot look for a different therapist. It doesn’t work like that. You can as I have done in the past made an official NHS complaint, which involves a meeting where you explain what has occurred and why you believe this is wrong. To be honest, the onus seems to remain with the patient and the therapist is backed by their peers. This rejection alone is enough to take the lives of those of us who have now lost all hope. For the rest of us, we wait until we are re-referred all over again, and go trough this same process and are thus rejected again. I have been denied therapy 9 times in 13 years for a variety of reason. When you have invested all you energy, effort, and hope into the potential of recovering, to be told that once again you are unsuitable is devastating.
Now what do you do? In what other NHS service would you find patients unsuitable? Someone with a broken leg would not be told that they are not ready to have it set in plaster, or they seem unmotivated to have their broken leg in a cast! You would never hear a doctor advise someone with a broken leg to go home, and try their best to mend it themselves, and then if it has not worked to come back! Of course if it has not worked it would require the leg to be re-broken to be reset into place which involves more work, or worse, the leg has become infected and now needs to be amputated! If this broken leg was emotional trauma, this would be what happens. But do not assume that when you return with a more severe issue you will be helped. Sadly no, because now they cannot afford re-break and reset the leg, or amputate, so they will find another reason, to send you home. They will say that since this leg is so bad, it highlights how little you have actually tried to recover!
So who then can we turn to? Many moons ago a mental health charity called MIND gave me a support worker, and an advocate to fight for therapy. During our battle (which took over 18 months) the remit for support workers changed to Housing related issues only. I therefore did not count! But my support worker had promised to stay with me until I got took on, and she left when I began my extended assessment. After being denied therapy again, I contacted MIND but this time, was reminded I do not fit their remit (due to government cuts) and so they can not help me.
Evidently, due to austerity those with complex mental health condition’s where CBT will be of no benefit are finding psychotherapy and Transactional analysis being denied due to cuts (all investment is going into CBT) and charity support being cuts. This group of highly damaged people are being told they are not worthy to have a life beyond the crippling existence they have.
The majority of disabled people have both physical and mental health conditions. Often one impacts the other. Due to the mental health neglect, it becomes impossible to access the physical health treatments. If for instance you have avoidant personality disorder, or agoraphobia then going to a hospital or clinic, waiting in a waiting room, and then enduring an assessment is unbearable. To then be told you need to stay in for an operation is simply an invisible impossibility. As mental health services neglect to treat complex conditions, they are not just abandoning the mind and emotions of the person, but like the ripples in pond from a pebble, it spreads out and impacts everything. Their physical health gets neglected, then their family relations are impacted, most lose their partners first who are often their free carer’s. This isolates the sufferer so significantly that people have ended their lives. It is beyond overwhelming to maintain such a physically, mentally and emotionally painful life, where there is no hope of improvement. Eventually you become so consumed that the only escape from this agony is death.
Are these sufferers to be left to rot, increasing in severity because they cannot afford to treat us? NO! They will be tortured by the government next!
Recently DWP released a publication stating that 90 a month were dying shortly after being taken off their benefit. For those of us with complex mental health conditions with no hope of recovery (since we keep being denied help) we are expected to complete long complicated forms (which predominantly focus on physical health condition’s) and then we enter the interrogation stage. This involves an assessment which whistle-blowers have confirmed intend for you to fail. The test also focuses primarily on physical competency. Once you have failed to be recognised as disabled (due to austerity) you are then passed to Job centre plus. Whistle blowers have confirmed that staff have targets for example to sanction 20 people a week. The techniques used vary from not informing you of appointments and then sanctioning you for non attendance, to deliberately agitating claimants so that they react. Remember the people we are discussing here have complex mental health condition’s A sanction can last up to 2 years. This means no money, no food, no cleaning liquids, no replaced clothes and furniture, and eventually no home.
So thanks you austerity people who never caused the economic crash, people who are so vulnerable that their very existence hangs in the balance are being pushed from pillar to post, neglected, abandoned and misjudged.
No one surely is unsuitable for therapy. Everyone stands the chance to recover, to live full and active lives. No one should be left on the scrap heap, and striped of all hope that death is their only way out. People just need the RIGHT therapy. For therapists to be supportive, empowering, and patient. For time to not be an issue, for NHS cuts to not restrict the types of help available, and for patients to be able to find the type of therapy and therapist that best suits them, rather than be allocated one person who will determine in essence whether you live or die.
When did the value of life become so restrictive that it omits the needy? If people receive the right care, the right attention, the right treatment, what they will be able to offer the world is without bounds. Here we have potential Scientists, Doctors, Lawyers, Politicians, Authors, teachers, even therapists! They just need to be allowed to fulfil their potential with the right help.
People with complex mental health conditions usually are the product of childhood and life long traumas. Should those hurt and damaged by others go on to be hurt and damaged by the healthcare system and the government? I do not think they should, I think this is the equivalent of kicking someone when they are already down, and only bullies do that.
Please, I beg you, help us before we have no hope left to keep us alive.