THE BLOG

In This Election, Mental Health Is On The Ballot

08/06/2017 12:24
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About a month ago, I was severely depressed. It got to a stage where I was seriously contemplating suicide; I went as far as writing a note, and planning out what I was going to do.

However, I didn't go through with it - instead, I rang the people I've always been advised to ring in mental health emergencies: the crisis team. Despite me being in a very bad place, they said they couldn't speak to me straight away. Instead, it took five hours (and both my parents getting involved) for somebody to call me back. When I eventually did get through to someone, they booked me an appointment to see a mental health nurse but, in the mean time, said I should just wait it out.

When I saw the mental health nurse, he told me that he'd have to make my appointment swift, as he was due to see three other people at the same time as me. He told me that, because I had friends and family who lived nearby, there was literally nothing the mental health team could do for me; he told my mum that it was her job to look after me, and be on 24-hour suicide watch to ensure I didn't come to any harm. She was advised to spend every moment of every day with me because there was currently nothing else the NHS could do.

Eventually, I saw a psychiatrist (it was a pre-booked appointment that I'd waited six months for). The psychiatrist made it clear that, because of lack of resources, it was impossible for me to seek any form of counselling (if I tried to seek it, I could expect at least a two year wait). I couldn't be allocated a specific mental health nurse. I had my medication adjusted slightly, and was told that, if I felt suicidal again, I should call the crisis team (and thus, this full cycle would have begun again).

Sadly, this isn't a unique situation. This is the NHS mental health services under a Tory government. Whilst I am very lucky in that I have an incredibly supportive partner, and amazing friends and family nearby, I hate to think what would've happened if I'd been alone. I honestly think that I would've been one of the many people who have killed themselves because of large cuts to mental health services. Unfortunately, this isn't me being dramatic - this is me being completely honest. I also know that I'm not the only one who has been treated in this way. I've heard so many stories from people who have tried to seek NHS support and, instead, have been disregarded or put on ridiculously long waiting lists.

So please, when you vote in this general election, remember people like me, and the millions of other people, who have mental health difficulties. Remember that this vote could be a matter of life or death for us. I understand that, whoever you vote for, the NHS won't be magically fixed - but I can assure you that the NHS will be a hell of a lot safer if the Tories aren't in charge, so please do the right thing this election... don't vote for the Tories.

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