Wednesday 21 February 2018

Into Battle Once More

You may recall, I was a tad annoyed the other week when I received a written copy of my Mental Health assessment. It 's fair to say, it was absolutely appalling and I was left absolutely fuming and with little faith left in those who are supposed to care and help. If you missed that post, you can catch up with it here. I've not put that complaint in yet, but I am going to the hospital next week so will hand it in when I do.

However, today I find myself once again, channelling my inner Katniss Everdeen and entering the arena. The difference this time is I am also wearing my mumma bear hat, so I suggest anyone getting in my way, jolly well move themselves pretty darned quickly. This girl is well and truly on the warpath.

I've said before how absolutely amazing my girls have been throughout my illness. They have done so much for me, and with me. They have held my hand, hugged me, passed me tissues, cooked dinners, done housework and somehow, still excelled at school.

From the onset, I let school know what was happening at home and between us we have secured support for both girls. This is really important, living with someone who suffers from a mental illness is very difficult and emotionally draining. I'm so pleased I did, even though it was difficult, because we now have a Family Worker and a Young Carers Worker who work with them and whom have both confirmed that one of the girls is struggling and needs more help.

I spoke to my GP yesterday (I have a season ticket and expect to get my own VIP waiting lounge with complimentary nibbles shortly) and explained that a referral was needed at the request of both parties working with my daughter. Knowing our family history, she was happy to do this and I said I would take her in at the end of the week. However, that went a bit pear shaped because said child is at home today, so it made sense to book her in for today and hurrah I managed to get an appointment before 9am. It was a bit of a rush getting there, but well worth it, I thought.

I seem to be using this phrase quite a lot lately, but here we go again...How wrong was I? First off, I made an epic parenting/ social etiquette faux pas. The 'check yourself in screen' didn't like me and told me to go to reception. I may have sworn quietly at it before turning round and seeing a room full of very silent people staring at me as though I had just committed murder (in my defence I had been super stressed trying to get there on time with 15 minutes notice). Oops!

That was nothing compared with what was to come (and how I didn't swear again, I do not know).

We were called in and my heart sank because the GP we were seeing was not our family GP, but one who is known for being a bit difficult. OK, thought I, this is a child and a child in need of referral for her MH and well being. This will be fine. I explained that two professionals had asked I get a GP referral for therapy for her, and that I had discussed it with my own GP at the same practice. Had you happened to walk into the room at that moment, you would likely have thought I had asked him to clean the practice toilet with his toothbrush, such was his obvious reluctance to help. He wanted written reports from the workers suggesting that a referral was required because he didn't know the background. First time that's been mentioned. I explained some more to him and he eventually (and reluctantly) agreed to help, but not without making it feel like a real chore.

What riled me more than anything though, was that at no point did he make any effort whatsoever to do his own assessment of my daughter. She was sat right in front of him. He didn't once speak to her and barely looked at her. I'm astounded. How can you have a patient in front of you and simply ignore them? She may be a child, but she is a very intelligent and articulate child. I can tell you she lacks resilience, I can tell you she has anxiety, I can tell you what her home life and school life have been like the last five months, but I cannot tell you how she feels you need to communicate with her!

I don't know what damage today's trip to the doctor's may have done. I know I felt hurt, let down, helpless and very angry. I know I wanted to just burst into tears because I felt as though I had let her down and put her through a horribly uncomfortable situation for nothing. Did my daughter deserve better today? Yes she bloody well did and so does every other patient walking into his surgery!

I've written and emailed a complaint in. It's the first thing I did when I got home. I'm frustrated that everything to do with MH Illness is a battle. I am sad that there are still some health professionals who don't understand it. I am sick of hearing of people being let down. I'm sick of the post code lottery. Most of all, I'm devastated that even our young people have to battle to get the help they need.


  1. So sorry to hear this. He definitely should have done more and dealt with the matter in a more understanding and helpful way. How he can even attempt to refuse a referral when he has barely spoken to the patient is beyond me!? RUDE! I hope she gets the help she needs, I half expect this kind of behaviour with us adults but not when it comes to children and their mental health. xxx

    1. Precisely Ember! To not even speak to her is disgusting in itself. I would understand if she were a tiny child, but she's at secondary school!

  2. Hi Lisa, reading this I felt I was reading something that happened here. WE've battled and battled and battled to get help for our son and for us as a family. We received very little. We had health care professionals doubting the word of others. We felt invisible, belittled and cross... No one should ever be made to feel that way, by anyone, let alone a health care 'professional'... Surely the Doctor you saw would have had the medical notes from your family GP?... Stories like this make my blood boil. What you were asking for was so simple and justified... I hope your daughter gets the help she needs and more.


    1. Thank you Debbie and I am so sorry to hear you have had problems too. As an adult it is bad enough not getting the help you need, but children and young people shouldn't have to battle. If we don't look after them now we are setting ourselves up for bigger more complex problems in the future. I will keep you updated on our progress xx