Me and My Mental Health Story

Hi... I'm Chloe, I'm 18 years old and I'm from the UK

I used to love playing football and multiple sports. I say used too... When I was 13 or 14, everything changed for me, but life went on as normal. Well from the outside it would have seemed normal, but for me, it was far from it.

Mental Health is something that is extremely stigmatised in the UK and across the world. This is my ongoing battle with mental health and what my experience of being in the UK mental health system is like. Everyone's experiences are different... but here's my story.

**TRIGGER WARNING**

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10. Me and My CAMHS Experience (Part Two)

So since the hospital mental health team had been in contact with CAMHS, they finally decided to do something. In CAMHS, there is four tiers:

Tier One: Practitioners who are not trained mental health specialists which includes:

GPs, health visitors, school nurses, teachers etc

They are able to give general advice and treatment for less severe problems. They contribute towards mental health promotion, identify problems early in the child or young person's development and refer to more specialist services.

Tier Two: Mental health practitioners that tend to be CAMHS specialists working in teams in community and primary care settings. They can include, for example:

Mental health professionals employed to deliver primary mental health work, psychologists and counsellors working in GP practices, paediatric clinics, schools and youth services.

They offer consultation to families and other practitioners. They identify severe or complex needs requiring more specialist intervention and assessment.

Tier 3: Usually multidisciplniary teams or services working in a community mental health setting or a child and adolescent psychiatry outpatient service, providing a service for children and young people with more severe, complex and persistent disorders. Team members are likely to include:

Child and adolescent psychiatrists, social workers, clinical psychologists, community psychiatric nurses, child psychotherapists, occupational therapists and art, music and drama therapists.

And, Tier 4: Offers intensive community treatment services, day units and inpatient units. These are generally services for the small number of children and young people who are deemed to be at greatest risk (of rapidly declining mental health or serious self harm) and/or who require a period of intensive input for the purposes of assessment and/or treatment. Team members will come from the same professional groups as listed for Tier 3. A consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist or clinical psychologist is likely to have the clinical responsibility for overseeing the assessment, treatment and care for each Tier 4 patient.

I was placed on Tier 3 in September and received help from an adolescent psychiatrist, community psychiatric nurses (Outreach) and a CBT Therapist (Mary). The Outreach people I had (who we shall name Hannah and  Kelly) offer up to three appointments a week. They started me on three for around two weeks and then brought it down to two for the rest of the time I was with them (except the last 2 weeks where it was one), so in a typical week I could have up to four or five appointments (one for CBT and one with my psychiatrist).

I found Hannah more helpful than Kelly. We worked up a good rapport and I began to engage with the service, receiving more help because of it. She was someone I was able to begin opening up to and actually tell her what was going on. Hannah arranged a meeting with college so that we were able to put a plan into place so we knew what to do when I was feeling a certain way, and how to help me manage the work load, whereas Kelly... Kelly basically did fuck all apart from talk about cats and moaned about me not engaging with the service.

My CBT with Mary started a bit slow. We'd talk about trying to distract yourself from harmful thoughts etc but she always started with things that no depressed person wants to hear... "Just be happy", "Think positively"... like bitch if it was that easy I wouldn't be sat here with you now. I accept that they can only give basic advice but some of the stuff she came out with was, lets put as, more than basic. However, she did manage to convince my psychiatrist to put me on sleeping medication, which did help for a bit so I suppose that was a positive. I did manage to build a decent rapport with Mary (even if it was a struggle) and some of the techniques she suggested did become pretty helpful in getting me into and through a day (by a day I mean one 1 hour and 10 minute lesson) at college, but hey I was still going to college!

My psychiatrist and I didn't really see eye-to-eye much. He didn't seem to be able to see how much I was struggling, especially with my anxiety and the voices. He would constantly say the voices are just you're anxiety and leave it at that, yet to me and some other people, it was so much more than that. During one of my appointments (when he changed my meds), he turned round and said that I wasn't putting enough effort into recovery and that it is a waste of money changing my meds... that is definitely what every depressed person does not want to hear. The thing with CAMHS is they don't see you on a day-to-day basis, they don't see how you react to certain things, they never saw how my personality kept flipping randomly, they didn't see my random violent outbursts... they just labelled me as a violent person. At one point one of the staff turned around and said that they didn't understand how I hadn't been arrested and charged with assault... like thanks for that guys - greatly appreciate the comment! But again, to everyone else it was so much more than me just being angry and violent, yet CAMHS never saw that.

 

(Note - CAMHS Tiers information was from http://www.icptoolkit.org/child_and_adolescent_pathways/about_icps/camh_service_tiers.aspx )

 

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