This week will see the NHS make plans following last week's Budget. The Royal College of Psychiatrists are fighting the corner for mental health services, emphasising that people with serious mental health problems die 15 -20 years earlier than others.

Mental health is something that impacts many lives across the globe.

While policy-makers, scholars, charities and experts attempt to address this pandemic, lives continue to be lost at an alarming rate.

In 2017, Samaritans published a report which found that 6,639 people in the UK and Republic of Ireland had died through suicide (Samaritans, 2017).

Firstly, I want to start by introducing myself as Josh, a 23-year-old from Lancaster, UK.

I thought I was beyond help

While battling with severe anxiety and depression I found it very difficult to listen to authoritative figures, in fact, I distinctly remember telling my doctor that I am beyond help.

'The array of doctors I met had a flippant tendency to undermine my symptoms'

I didn’t have much confidence in my doctor’s surgery because I was often given different GPs for each appointment.

The array of doctors I met had a flippant tendency to undermine my symptoms which did not help my confidence or mental health.

Each appointment I was asked by the doctor to fill out a generic patient health ‘PHQ-9’ questionnaire. I recall reading the poorly designed questions and slowly losing all faith in medical support.

I think more time and effort should be spent on properly diagnosing patients with mental health.

Becoming medicated 

It also concerned me how quick doctors were to offer medication for my anxiety and depression.

I personally hated the idea of using pills to artificially make me ‘normal’ like everyone else so I simply declined every time a doctor offered them (which was frequent).

A doctor did eventually refer me to cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) which sounded fantastic, but unfortunately, did not materialise.

'I did not receive any correspondence from the mental health nurse until eight months later and by this point I had given up'

I did not receive any correspondence from the mental health nurse until eight months later and by this point I had given up.

The NHS doesn't help

I do sympathise with medical practitioners because they do not have a comfortable ride, especially considering reductions in NHS funding. The news around funding targets, long unsocial hours combined with little pay makes me more worried about the mental health of my doctors and nurses than my own.

'I didn't visit my GP because I felt like a burden on the system' 

I have even gone to the extent of not visiting my GP practice because I personally feel a burden on the system.

However, I am not advising anybody to avoid visiting their GP if they require medical support.

If you need to go, then go, do not hesitate.

I remain optimistic

Although I have had somewhat of a rollercoaster experience, I remain optimistic.

 My family, friends and wife have been incredible and have supported me through my triumphs and tribulations.

 My anxiety and depression seem to be under control, but I use the term ‘seem’ loosely because it tends to rear its unwanted ugly head whenever it feels. 

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