Dear Service User,
I am sorry I cannot offer more.
I am sorry I couldn’t call you back yesterday when you needed me and I am sorry I am not able to do more to help you.
I have worked in mental health for 10+ years and whilst I love my job it never gets any easier.
I have books on my shelves and articles in files on the latest evidence based practice. I have ideas in my head for sessions we can do together and the passion to sit with you whilst we figure all this out.
However, first you need to get to me and I need the time to deliver it all.
Referrals into mental health services are on the increase, this could be due to the ever growing pressures in society on everyone; from children to the elderly or the successful drive to normalize and promote mental health like never before, ripping down barriers and shouting from the roof tops that it is ok to not be ok.
So you gather the courage to call someone (which I know is so hard to do) and get help…
Unfortunately our pie is not getting any bigger, there is no more ‘money tree’ and we cannot afford anymore resources. So whilst we are able to see you, accessing treatment is entirely different.
In the service I work in there are 30 practitioners for nearly 400 people on the waiting lists. No matter how you do the maths it is never going to fit. We try and change the service, we make it more lean, we shave things down to try and get everyone in but it is impossible. We have ideas of more we can offer but no money to fund it and no bodies to deliver it.
I want to see you straight away but there are hundreds of other people ahead of you.
I want to take it at your pace and see you for as long as it takes but I only have 8 sessions otherwise other people will have to wait longer.
I want to be there to answer the phone straight away when you need me but I already have 6 other back to back appointments, before racing to collect my children from school.
I constantly squeeze every drop of time to fit in more people but inevitably it all runs out as I cannot make 24 hours into 25.
I want to offer you the therapy you need but no service, that I know of, is commissioned to offer it, which just really sucks.
I don’t know what the solution is but I want you to know that I am sorry because I feel just as frustrated as you.
I know my boss, their boss and the bosses’ boss also constantly look for answers, but with an ever growing population and more needs becoming prevalent it is very hard.
It’s not just us either; before, we could have referred you to other 3rd sector organisations which could have helped but they are just as squeezed as us and having to make equally hard and heartbreaking decisions.
So please don’t be offended when we talk about self help materials or equipping you with the tools to help yourself, it is the only weapon I have at the moment to help you long after I have to reluctantly discharge and move on to the next case.
Please don’t think I don’t care if my next visit isn’t for another 6 weeks, I hate this just as much as you do. I need you to understand that my intervention isn’t limited through choice , so all we can do in the short time we have is to teach you the skills I have to help yourself.
I need you to not miss any appointments as they count in my limited time and I need you to work with me as much as you can so that I can give you all I have.
One day maybe we will have enough resources, but for now all I have is I am sorry!!
We all deserve more than this, no one more than you.
Please hang on in there, believe in yourself, take any support you can find and know that your wait isn’t because we don’t care, our pie just simply isn’t big enough.
From Your Practitioner.
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