NHS Help: Face to face

Many people go to their doctor, General Practitioner (GP), or a nurse for initial support when they feel low or anxious. 

  • How likely are are the young people you care for to seek mental health support from their GP or nurse?
  • If a young person you care for have spoken to a GP or nurse, what has been your experience of that?
  • What improvements do you think could be made?

 

Why the contribution is important

It is important for us to learn about your experiences and ideas for improvements so we can make it easier for young people to get mental health support from NHS face to face services.

by ScotParlCEU on November 06, 2018 at 04:09PM

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  • Posted by Michelleanderson November 07, 2018 at 10:01

    My daughter was at the doctors back and fourth for 6 months at the doctors A+E being sick every day with anxiety we were told it would be a year before she could be seen by the children and mental health team the day we got the letter my daughter took an overdose. This and only this is the only reason my daughter now has access to a fortnightly appointment with the mental health team she still struggles everyday spends her days sleeping moods up and down I am in constant fear she may attempt to hurt herself again. It is ridiculous in this day that it takes a child to try to get help for six months continued trips at least twice a week to hospital and at least once a fortnight by ambulance to hospital and she still had been told it would be over a year until she would get help for her then to get to a point where she no longer wanted to live in this world that she attempted suicide and only then she was allocated a minimum amount of help which in no way has even started to scratch the surface. I do not blame the NHS they are stretched thin with funding for staff and the high demand for their services. However in this day and age a child should not get to a point that they feel they have no other option than to try take their own life thankfully for me she did not succeed if she had this would be a completely different story.
  • Posted by beansie November 14, 2018 at 09:43

    My daughter was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism at 14. This was at the start of her National 5 exam year.

    Due to her diagnosis and the tablets she was prescribed, her immune system was completely ruined therefore she picked up viruses, colds etc., which lasted for three weeks to a month and she was regularly absent from school. I took my daughter to our doctors for blood tests for check up as the tablets can cause white blood cells to drop which could eventually lead to leukaemia, this added to her anxiety. The situation made her very stressed and anxious as she wanted to go to university and felt the chance was slipping away from her.

    We were seen by the nurse practitioners one of whom recommended mindfulness. After thoroughly researching mindfulness, we decided not to follow this route as seemed not to be the solution to her anxiety. It was something she needed to talk about but unfortunately she wasn't offered counselling and I feel she was just expected to "get on with it."

    So for the remaining three years she attended school, she was a nervous, couldn't sleep and suffered from anxiety and everytime we told the doctor or hospital consultant, although they told her she'd be fine, nothing was offered to her.

    I'm not saying the health professionals were bad, far from it, they were lovely but not really able to understand how worrying situations like this are on someone so young.

    When a fourteen year old develops a serious health condition, it's difficult to for them to deal with so to be able to talk to someone who won't laugh at your worries and concerns would have been a great help to my daughter.
  • Posted by Apple11 November 14, 2018 at 23:23

    It takes a lot to admit you need help. Once you take this step you meet fantastic NHS professionals, but the problem is that this is not a one-stop solution. Asking a vulnerable young person to share their very personal problems with an unfamiliar GP, then wait weeks or months for a new person in a different place to assess them, then waiting weeks or months for yet another person in a different place to offer some counselling, before waiting weeks or months for yet another person to engage in further assessment does not only compound the pressures on a young person, it also significantly increases the stress parents experience, negatively affecting their ability to support the young person in their care. Instead of dealing with one source of worry and unpredictability, they now need to manage several. The outcome for the young person can depend on the parent's ability to manage this stress and engage with the system. This lack of equity seems unjust. There must be a better way. I can see each practitioner the young person meets cares, but the way the system works inadvertently gives the message that seeking help inconveniences others, that you add to someone else's burden and it is only a matter of time before you are moved on. This does undermine the efficacy of support offered.
  • Posted by Luathmac November 17, 2018 at 16:03

    Our daughter has anxiety I felt the GP took a very cautious approach and we had to keep going back to get help, eventually she got access to a six session course on anxiety via the school and has been allowed to sit her exams separately from her peers. The latter has been the biggest benefit for our child, we needed a letter from her GP for this. The sessions on dealing with anxiety need to be monthly, where progress is monitored to see if the support is effective and useful - every child is different and the sessions that our daughter attended were general, the one size fits all method needs addressed & dealing with bullying needs systematic and community led intervention that evolves continuously to meet challenges, there are many causes of mental health issues, if we’re to really deal with mental health we need to start prevention in nursery setting & building resilience too.
  • Posted by Mootie1 November 25, 2018 at 17:56

    My 14-year-old daughter has been off school for 4 months now, she has depression, anxiety, and stress and struggles to leave the house without either myself or her grandparents with her and even then she has crippling anxiety attacks. I had to fight to get her seen by a psychologist, at one point I was told that my self-harming, suicidal (having taken several overdoses), daughter who wanted to die was not a priority, SERIOUSLY NOT A PRIORITY. I feel that there are not enough services available to teenagers who want to talk face to face with a person, they can email, phone, or text with someone but what about the personal touch. All my daughter needs when she hits a real low is a human being in front of her to talk to, but there is nowhere that offers a 24-hour face to face counselling service for teens or children. We need more priority to be given to our youth, cause without them there is no future. They need to be given more teaching at school about mental health issues, and a school counsellor based in every school giving them someone who is always there to talk to without having to wait months to be seen.
  • Posted by Sarah87 November 25, 2018 at 18:49

    I have met one GP who took the time to listen to my children but all the rest could t care less, say they can't do anything and that's it. No compassion, no understanding and no patience.. CAMHS are far to quick to make any excuse to discharge instead of doing hard work because they are to stretched. Private funding mental health care isn't cheap and not accessible for most.

    The system needs a shake up.
  • Posted by annieq November 25, 2018 at 23:34

    My daughter had had previous issues with anxiety and it reared it’s head over a year ago aged 9. She was so ill that she would get out of the car and run into the road; ran out of a theatre that was too crowded for her and down a busy street in a city she didn’t know; wasn’t coping with school; wasn’t eating or sleeping. Even when we were in the doctors she kept having to leave the room. The doctor’s response was “what do you want me to do about it?” When I said I wanted help she looked taken aback. It’s as if they don’t expect these things to happen in leafy suburbia. She told me that this was a mental health problem and that she couldn’t help. My daughter and I were shown the door.

    To say I was livid was an understatement. I wrote and complained but was told whilst I was within my rights to make a formal complaint it would be my word against the doctors about what was said and nothing would happen. It’s absolutely appalling that someone supposedly trained to help people can treat anyone, especially children like this. Thankfully because I work in education I was trained in the signs and knew not to ignore my daughter’s symptoms. We went and got help for her privately. Not everyone is able to do this. GPs are the first port of call and they are drastically failing our children.
  • Posted by oakvale116 November 26, 2018 at 11:55

    My story is similar to the comments above in that the professionals are overworked and over stretched and therefore can not deal with mental health difficulties in young people effectively .
    It is common for teenagers in particular to suffer poor mental health . A lot is to do with modern living and social media adding on additional pressure.
    Let alone hormones, school issues and home problems all adding to the likely hood of mental health issues.
    My Son had several issues since birth including Asperger's syndrome, which despite my research and reading lots of books, not one health professional warned me that 65% of kids with AS go on to have some sort of mental health issue in their formative years. Had I known I may have been able to look out for warning signs of mental health issues and deal with them quicker.
    I have found that while the professionals have been good ( well offered the best they could under lacking resources) there does not seem to be a huge understanding of dual diagnoses.
    It took several visits to the doctors before he was referred to Child and Adolescent mental health services. I must point out there was also a lot of stress in the family as my husband was dying of cancer and this was also obviously having an affect on my son.
    We eventually had a meeting with child and adolescent mental health services and my son was assessed as a boy with Asperger's only and I was a highly stressed mum and perhaps I needed help, which I was through cancer charities at the time. However they did not seem to take my views on board re my sons behaviour, although he had AS I knew the behaviour and things he was saying were not him and things were different , he was also not sleeping properly- another issue with AS but again this was on a different level.

    Within 2 days of this meeting my son took a complete breakdown and was almost admitted to hospital - that was 7 yrs ago and while we have a diagnoses of bi polar , been seen by many doctors and medications have been changed several times - we are still struggling to get medical appointments when he requires them as his condition is so changeable.
    We have had to fight to be listened too by the professionals and to effect changes that we feel may help my son. We have never had a period of stability and my son planning to commit suicide before we managed to get listened too. Even now we don't feel we get listened to by his CPN and any requested changes in medication taking too long to be agreed by the professionals - all of which has a detrimental affect to my sons condition.
    He is offered an appointment every 3 months to see the mental health doctor and any additional help in-between is to be with his CPN - who only works part time and seems unable to get answers or is not passing on our concerns to the doctors. To be honest if my son did not have his family support I have no idea how he would manage to get help with his condition. I find it funny that the professionals often say well he is not engaging therefore we wont offer appointments. This of course is when he is a "Low" and his condition means he has no motivation and is unable to participate in meetings due to ill health. You would think the professionals would understand the condition they are trying to treat.
    I feel the mental health facilities need funding, more professionals who can build up a relationship with the person they are trying to treat by meeting them more often and better trained CPN's .
  • Posted by cairistiona2003 November 27, 2018 at 13:26

    My daughter has suffered from anxiety which escalated into anorexia. She was admitted to hospital to prevent her dying. We had an extreme situation and did benefit from excellent and regular family therapy from CAMHS to help her restore her weight. Now that her weight is restored and the immediate physical danger is past, appointments are much less often. That's fine as far as family therapy is concerned, but my daughter really needs someone to talk to as she is still struggling with an eating disorder and at times very high levels of anxiety and suicidal thoughts.
    I have the feeling that CAMHS is stretched, as are GPs and other professionals. Also it is hard to join the dots, as Apple 11 pointed out 'The outcome for the young person can depend on the parent's ability to manage this stress and engage with the system'. I totally agree. It has been very stressful and I only managed to get an appointment with an educational psychologist (which made a huge positive difference to school attendance) after many phone calls to different people. Sometimes parents who are under the stress of caring for a child in crisis, don't have the strength to persist. At times, I have felt like giving up.
    We are still trying to work out some kind of regular help for my daughter as the CAMHS individual appointments have been so patchy. Part of the problem is that she is beginning to think no-one cares (not true - they are just overloaded). As she sometimes says, 'I feel so low I want to die, but I am trying to keep going. How much worse does it have to get before people take notice. Do I have to try to kill myself?'
  • Posted by hihihello December 13, 2018 at 21:44

    We approached our GP first for help with a sudden onset of anxiety. It was a complete breakdown of my child who went from coping to being unable to leave their room, sleep alone (if at all) with panic attacks, temper tantrums and massive fears of everything and anything. Despite this, all I was offered was a pamphlet on counselling services offered by various charities. All were for children with a troubled background - alcoholism, drug abuse, physical abuse etc. None were for children from a non-traumatic background so we didn't 'qualify' for help from the sources offered. All that was left was private counselling (which we could not afford) or the long and lengthy wait for Camhs. In the fifteen months we waited for help, I had to take time out from my job to support her, and our family life suffered greatly due to the added financial stress. There is also very little support offered to parents of children with mental health difficulties. We had to find ways of coping by ourselves so by the time CAMHS help did arrive, it was too little too late. Added to this , we saw three different people before our regular sessions began. This isn't really ideal when a child has shut themselves down to the world. Early intervention in mental health is critical for recovery so in my opinion ANY wait time to access services is unacceptable.
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