Coventry and Warwickshire’s mental health services under immense pressures

With the BBC finding just last year that mental health patients have been forced to wait years for the treatment they needed and further estimating that in some areas in the UK waiting times for sufferers of chronic and acute problems will have to endure an astonishing 50 month wait until they are given the treatment needed.

Further, the health foundation discovered this year that waiting times across all areas within the NHS have hit a five-year-high.

With these alarming statistics emerging regarding the waiting times that individuals are facing in the UK, we wanted to take a closer look at the struggles patients within Coventry and the West Midlands have been confronted with – particularly within the mental health sector.

Anne Wooten* lives in Coventry herself and has faced an astonishing two-year wait to be given the attention she needed.

Anne told us, “I took me two years for me to see a psychiatrist. In all I had six cancelled appointments. It makes me angry because it’s like in that year and a bit I took five overdoses and it just makes you angry because there’s no help, there’s no care.”

The struggles to receive the necessary attention within local areas can often leave patients having to compromise the recourses and support they need.

It was noted by Anne that she found herself in Coventry and Warwickshire’s A&E services in a desperate attempt to be given the attention she needed. Not only did she express the guilt she felt from using these services, she also found the offered support was relatively helpless.

Anne expressed, “I ended up in A&E and you see I don’t think that’s where you should be. And, I felt guilty that I was put in there.”

With her frustrated experiences in trying to gain support as a patient, Anne concluded: “I feel that the mental health (services) in Coventry is absolutely shocking and you should not wait up to two years to go and see somebody.”

While it is clearly apparent that local services across the UK, including Coventry and Warwickshire, are struggling with the pressures their mental health services are under – there are individuals continually making an effort to improve them.

Glenn Williams is an independent councillor within Coventry City Council representing the Bablake ward and has been continually active in his pursuit to see better mental health support in Coventry and Warwickshire.

Talking to Cllr Williams he expressed his feelings towards the current recourses available for patients within Coventry, “It’s too easy to brush mental health under the carpet and lots of people don’t want to understand the many complex issues involved with mental health.” Adding, “Having heard different experiences from residents regarding our mental health services in Coventry, it is clear that some of our most vulnerable residents are being failed.”

With the worrying pressures that Coventry and Warwickshire’s mental healths services are under, we spoke to the associate director of operations for Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust – Barry Day.

Day noted the pressures, stating: “NHS services are there to help everyone, so when demand increases for any reason, we know this can sometimes make it more challenging for some people to get the help they need as quickly as they would like.”

Day added, “The approach we take is to continue to help people to be cared for at home wherever possible, among their friends and family and a place which they know. We believe this is the best way for most people to get well quicker and enables them to remain in their home rather than be admitted to a hospital environment.”

For anyone struggling with mental health issues in Coventry and Warwickshire there are certainly still places tho go for help despite the increased pressures.

Day noted, “If and when you are experiencing mental health challenges there are people who can help. There is a great deal of information available in the NHS Choices website, and there is information about local services there and at www.covwarkpt.nhs.uk.”

Adding, “If you are worried about your mental health, call Mental Health helpline 0800 616171 (from a landline) or 0300 330 5487 (from a mobile). The best thing is to get to see your GP or call 111 first of all.”

*Name was changed to ensure anonymity and welfare. 

Billy Hodder

 

 

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