Letter to my MP: On Mental Health and Talking Therapy Waiting Lists

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(image: Imperial College)

I have just responded to a letter that my MP replied to me today. The other day I wrote to my MP here in London about the Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Bill which aims to stop dangerous restraint in mental health hospitals. This was a campaign through the charity Rethink Mental Illness.

I was sadly less than impressed with the response I received even though it was quick, my MP quoted a lot of figures at me. Now, one of these figures, ‘750,000 more people accessing talking therapies since 2009/10’ really got to me. In 2015, I had a short course of NHS cognitive behavioural therapy which was useful but didnt help my anxiety. However, since late 2015/ early 2016, I have been on the therapy waiting list for talking therapy to help me process the trauma I have been through, Almost 2 years later, I am still on the list and have had to go privately which is less than ideal as you will see in my letter below. I hope it resonates with you and that my MP will use my case study in parliament ( one can only hope):

Dear MP,

Thank you for your swift response to my letter regarding the Mental Health Units Use of Force Bill. In your letter to me, you stated ‘more people accessing mental health services every day….as well as around 750,000 more people accessing talking therapies since 2009/2010’.

As someone with Bipolar disorder who was hospitalised (and sectioned) in 2014 for 4 months, with another 4 months in day hospital due to psychosis and mania, I have been on the waiting list for talking therapy since 2015- almost 2 years ago. When I recently went to a review with my psychiatrist, he said he would speak to psychology for me but that because the service is over stretched I may have to seek therapy via local charities or go privately. Being that I am currently waiting to start work and on ESA, I couldn’t afford private therapy without help from my family and I have had to go private which is grossly unfair due to the trauma I have faced. However, as you state, more people are accessing mental health services meaning that even in someone with a case such as mine, I have had to wait for talking therapy and effectively given up on NHS support in that regard.

I hope you will use my case study as an example in parliament when discussing mental health with Theresa May and your party and would appreciate a response. 

Yours sincerely,

Eleanor Segall

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10 thoughts on “Letter to my MP: On Mental Health and Talking Therapy Waiting Lists

  1. Can relate. It’s been 25 years since I was involuntary. Hearing our voices offends them if we have no criminal record and never will. We are usually in this position because we were smarter, or cuter… more creative?? Something offended. That last query was probably too creative and our humor has to be self effacing so they get it. Yet they don’t.
    People like us have run throughout history. I saw one doctor for 10 years, worked out he was an anti Semite in the first 3 appointments, told him 8 years later that my maternal line is Jewish, and in the 10th year outlined a graduate level model of a society where I can wear a yellow star on my arm so no one is confused. My physical health became offensive though as I stopped drinking alcohol at 24. Total abstinence of toxins, and total compliance to their blind man’s bluff diagnostic criteria absolutely offends.
    It has become my career. I have helped others like me to survive on the 20 grand a year we are pensioned off to when the last workplace gets bored of bullying us anymore.
    The stopping alcohol and all street drugs really upsets them all. Especially when they can’t do it themselves and they need to be seen congratulating us.
    Good luck girl. You are worth it and your loved ones deserve you kicking ass

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  2. I find that the whole system is a joke, I had to stop accessing the crisis team, when they sold off the hospital and built “affordable” houses on the site. They moved the crisis team to a different area. A good 50 miles aways, I believe, at the time I wrote to my MP to say how stupid the system was becoming, and that all it was doing was pushing people further down.

    The stupid part in the whole of this, was I had to reappply for pip, I got turned down, partly because they had no up to date medical records, because I have been on the waiting list trying to access some.

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  3. YES! The wait for mental health care is…heartbreaking. I cannot even put into words how much it has upset me as I have also been in this position of waiting. I commend you for writing back, standing up for yourself and so many others who struggle. You are a beautiful person and thank you!

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