Mental health system failing those with children.
I’ve written before about how the mental health system is failing people every single who are struggling with mental illnesses but it is especially failing those of us that have children.
I have always tried to find childcare for my son(s) in the past for my appointments, be it therapy sessions or psychiatrist appointments but it really isn’t easy. My family all work full time, my husbands family also work and the friends that we do have that might be able to help have babies or young children of their own.
My mental health team have never made it easy for me, it’s very much “Well that’s all there is” when it comes to appointments, take it or leave it!
When I mention to people how difficult it is to get appointments I am often met with responses of “That’s ridiculous can’t they do evenings or weekends?” Truth is no they don’t do weekends or evenings. It’s usually between 9am and 4pm. Plus on top of this they are so stretched that if they offer you an appointment and you don’t take it you’ll be lucky if you’re offered another one in the next month or few months even!
I was recently assigned a new CPN (6th one in 4 years!) she is just a useless in my opinion. I finally, after a 3 month wait, got an appointment with my psychiatrist for my urgent medication review as I had been crisis but my little boy was very poorly and there was nothing I could do but apologise, cancel and ask to rearrange asap! 2 weeks later she came for a visit and I asked if I was getting another appointment and her response to me was “Is there much point in booking another appointment if you’re just going to cancel!” Yep. That was really her response. Shocking huh!
This time around with my pregnancy I struggled with my mental health – not hugely but I did struggle but thanks to the care and support of my midwife I was able to stay on track – the mental health team were no where to be found despite several calls from me, my midwife and GP!
My baby is now 5 months old and I still haven’t been contacted by the perinatal team (referred in December!) the Psychotherapy team (referred in January) or the eating disorder team (referred January!) It is shocking and upsetting that this is the sate of the mental health system.
Having children and a mental illness is so tough. You are already sleep deprived and on edge so it really does take a lot of energy and effort to stay on track and – quite frankly – alive on some days!
I truly love my boys with all my heart. They are my entire world and I would never change them. I just wish that there was more support for mums and dads out there struggling. I don’t want everything handed to me on a plate, I’m an independent person and like to do most things myself, but there are somethings that only a professional can help me with.
I have also noticed that the Baby Centres (check here for some fantastic information) all seem to be closing down around me. This is awful. For a mum with a newborn or young baby these places are so important. I relied on these centres when I had my first son, not only to get help and advice but to actually get out of the house and have some much needed adult conversation. I’m really worried for mummies out there that are going to struggle having these taken away!
I love my boys and being a mum. It really is the best thing in the world and I am so grateful. I don’t want to change anything about them or even my mental health if I’m honest but what I do want to change is better help, support and care for parents.
I really want to see a change. I’m going to work on fighting for this. I’m not entirely sure where to start so if any of you fantastic people can help point me in the right direction I would really appreciate it.
Love Amy x