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Mental health services are failing patients – I should know, because I was one of them

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Friday 15 December 2017 13:49 GMT
Those suffering from mental health issues are not being given the support they need
Those suffering from mental health issues are not being given the support they need (Shutterstock/ESB Professional)

Imagine how it would feel if you woke up and realised you were on a mental ward.

Imagine being told to stay calm when you’ve woken up, a patient on a mental ward.


Having no choice but to stay calm.

Being told that this mental ward offers no psychological therapy; that’s on the outside.

Realising that to access the therapy you need to get better, you have to get better first.

So you pretend to get better. Otherwise you’re there forever.


But you are not very good at pretending, all things considered, yet are discharged after seven days anyway because the doctor needs to free up a bed for somebody else.

How did you get there?

You let your thoughts get carried away.

That is all.

You listened to the inner voice we are all trained to trust from childhood.

That is all.

Your head told you that life is pointless. Just work and bills and death and you agreed that it was correct.

That is all.

You listened to your mind and its endless catastrophising until your resting heart rate hits over 100 BPM and never came down. Not for one moment in the day.

Three months on and no sign of help from your local mental health services. Despite having been referred to them as high priority, you are living a nightmare of the darkest kind.

So you try to kill yourself. You fail.

You feel the grief of your family and friends and the crushing guilt of your actions and your trusty head tells you that you really do deserve to die, especially now you’re such a burden. So you try to kill yourself again. And you fail again.

Until one day you wake up and find yourself on a mental ward.

Nobody chooses to become mentally ill.

It’s time to make cognitive behavioural therapy a mandatory part of our national curriculum.

It’s time we trained children to treat their internal monologue with a healthy degree of scepticism.

It’s time for understanding.

Because I don’t want this to happen to you or your loved ones.

And because if it does I want the NHS to be able to provide better care for you than it did for me and everyone else on that ward.

For that the Government needs to provide more funding for mental health services than it does today.

Nobody chooses to become mentally ill.

Name and address supplied

Thank you to the Tory rebels

Thank you to the brave MPs who put principle first. Your intelligent decision has guaranteed a sensible way forward and opened the possibility of avoiding the worst Brexit scenario. You have also provided a counterweight to the unhealthy influence of a group of hard-line anti-Europe MPs; May is no longer at their mercy.

Let’s have no more strident abuse of these MPs. They have done what MPs are supposed to do – vote for what they believe to be best for the country and their constituents. The vote in favour of Dominic Grieve’s amendment should not be viewed as a defeat, but simply a reassertion of Parliament’s sovereignty. Paradoxically, just what Brexiteers say they want.

Lynda Newbery

Why does it seem so strange and surprising that some MPs decide to put their principles before their party? Is that not what all MPs should do all the time? And would dissent be necessary if the party put its principles above its party’s interests?

Hazel Bentall
Address supplied

MPs do not deserve death threats under any circumstances

Let’s be quite clear: death threats to MPs are not indicative of a strong and stable democracy. Quite the reverse. Our Prime Minister should denounce this behaviour, using her own words, immediately.

Richard Greenwood

In 2016 I voted Remain more to preserve the remnants of British tolerance and decency than for economic reasons. I feared a retreat to jingoistic, isolationist anti-foreigner, “let’s win the Second World War again” attitudes. And that is what we now appear to have, but further fuelled by the ability of unpleasant individuals to use poorly regulated social media platforms as a way of threatening those who disagree with them. Death threats to the 11 Tory rebels who voted on Wednesday to change the EU (Withdrawal) Bill exemplifies this perfectly. Facebook has issued a licence under which digital bullies can operate with impunity.

Patrick Cosgrove

Murdoch should pay the Brexit divorce bill

So Rupert Murdoch has sold of a large chunk of his media empire for £40bn. This is roughly the cost of our goodbye to the EU. Surely as a patriot whose devotion to this country shines through all his publications Mr Murdoch could magnanimously bestow this money on our government? It would remove at least one obstacle in the path to Brexit...

Margaret Brown

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