WARNING – Rant!
I think that mental health services are stretched incredibly thin all over the country – in fact, probably all over the world. It’s quite difficult to comprehend at times, especially as mental illnesses can be just as life limiting as some physical illnesses.
Think about it, somebody is diagnosed with cancer – a well known, often fatal physical illness. A doctor would (I’d hope) never say ‘Oh, you have cancer. But, we’re not going to treat you because it isn’t bad enough yet.’ But what about eating disorders – a group of well known, can be fatal mental illnesses. The reaction is never quite the same.
This is what I’ve been told: I currently have a perfectly healthy (and average for my age, 18, and height, 155cm) BMI (Body Mass Index) of roughly 21.6. When I was 15 – just as my ED was starting to develop more severely, I had a slightly less healthy BMI of about 26.4. At this time I was one inch shorter and ten whole kilograms heavier. I lost those ten kilos pretty quick (within the same year)! I have generally maintained since then although my weight is always dropping.
Here’s the problem: My GP admits that I could have an eating disorder (well done you! note the sarcasm!) but she also mentions that she cannot refer me to any kind of eating disorder clinic because my BMI isn’t under 16/8 (she couldn’t remember which). Like ??????????? Ok, you just told me I have a problem, but where am I meant to get help? Do I have to become sicker to access services, because trust me I’ll bring myself down to a BMI of 16 if that’s what it takes? It won’t take me long (could put my gym membership to use)!
Yes, so I was sent on my way with a nice Time To Talk leaflet. Talking therapies are great for many conditions and people but I have a problem in the fact I’ve done talking therapy FOUR times over and also the leaflet states it offers support for a range of conditions such as:
- Panic Attacks
- Sleep Issues
- Self Esteem
- Assertiveness Skills
No specific eating disorder support? Literally because I’m not skinny enough? I don’t have a problem with talk therapies for the rest of these conditions – they are great! But, I don’t think that they’re really going to solve my issue but it would’ve been nice to have been offered the support y’know… Probably gonna fail my A Levels now because I’m always sick – Fanks! At least I tried…
Sorry for the ranty post! I think it’s important people understand how stretched our services are and that they can’t help everyone. Sad, but it’s the truth.
On a good note, I had a really good two days work experience in the Diagnostic Imaging Department at a hospital – it’s encouraged me to look at a couple of Radiography courses…
Thanks for reading – do you think the NHS deserves more?