Mental Ill-health v Physical Ill-health

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MrGrumpy
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16 Aug 2014, 1:35 pm

Since Robin Williams' suicide there has been yet another debate about how to get help for mental illness. It came up on this weekend's BBC radio4 programme 'AnyQuestions', and I sent the following email to the sister programme called 'AnyAnswers' -

"Please don't call me, but please feel free to read out my email on the programme.

Mental ill-health has a lot in common with physical ill-health, but there are also huge differences. One of this week's panellists mentioned the 'invisibility' of, for example, depression.

I have had intermittent contact with the NHS over my mental health issues, but their pills don't seem to help, and I have struggled through life on my own.

Physical illness rarely poses any kind of threat to society, but mental illness quite often results in police involvement.

If you were 'hearing voices telling you to kill', what would YOU do?

I think it is unrealistic to expect people who think they have a mental health issue to queue up with young mothers, people with sports injuries, stroke victims etc etc in search of a seven-minute cure.

Mental ill-health is no more or less important than physical ill-health, but it is pointless to try to suggest that the doctors of the National Health Service should be able to treat both areas of ill-health with a single toolkit"

Needless to say, my email was ignored by the AnyAnswers programme, and they concentrated on a phone call from a depressive who had enjoyed support from his extended family and from his GP.

I think they missed the point...


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hurtloam
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16 Aug 2014, 2:39 pm

The GP is the first point of call. You need to ask them to refer you to a specialist. For example I had a suspected tumour a few years ago and the GP didn't treat me. I was refered to a specialist for a biopsy. Good news, it turned out to just be a swollen pocket on my thyroid gland which they biopsy process completely drained and I'm ok now.

I agree that GPs often don't know how to deal with mental illness, but if they refuse to refer you to a specialist then book and appointement with a different GP and ask them.



MrGrumpy
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16 Aug 2014, 3:01 pm

On the AnyAnswers programme, the length of the conversation with the depressive was considerably extended by the perceived need to give the punter time to talk. If the symptoms had suggested a tumour, then there would have been an immediate way forward, and the topic would probably never have arisen in the first place.

It's not that GPs might refuse to refer you to a specialist, it's just that they do not have a list of tick-boxes which justifies such a referral.

A year or two ago, I checked out the website of my new GP practice, and there was a guy whose speciality was said to be mental health. I booked an appointment, and got the standard seven-minute slot. I answered his questionnaire, which he read to me off his computer screen, and he prescribed anti-depressants.

End of story.


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hurtloam
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16 Aug 2014, 3:12 pm

That's annoying. GPs are not specialists they are just a doorman for the nhs. Their speciality is prescribing anitbiotics and antidepressants or if you're female, the pill or they tell you it's all in your head, go away. See if you can get a referal to a psycotherapist or a psychiatrist because they can administer anti-psychotics.

I've learned through talking to others that a GP will not refer you unless you specifically ask and sometimes you really need to be willing to put up a fight to get the services you need. It sucks, but that's how the NHS works. That's why desperate people go on Embarassing Bodies because they feel like they'll actually get refered to a specialist. If you watch that the GP who interviews them is rarely the person to administer treatment. They usually get refered.

Maybe print this out and take it with you so the GP knows what you are asking for. Or have a browse of the NHS website to see what other services they offer.
http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Psychotherapy/Pages/Introduction.aspx

I'm not an expert, so maybe if you contact MIND they might be able to give you some better advice:
http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/?gclid=CJ7_pN3LmMACFZMRtAod7EUAEg



Piers
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17 Aug 2014, 1:35 pm

That's the BBC for you, I do have a lot of respect for the corporation, but when it comes to genuine opinions of mental health they tend to ignore people.

I once submitted a reply on a news page, they then telephoned me for a comment to air on radio - he didn't like my opinion so said it couldn't be used. I was very polite throughout.


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