- make your feelings loud (campaigning for better access to support)
Do you know, as the time came nearer for me moving to this Hospital, my Mum spoke to my first Community Psychiatrist and she apologised (the Psychiatrist) for letting us down so many times with my care in those first few months and years.
I guess I have three points as to how things can be improved to make access to services for young people a lot easier.
1. The services available to young people for support with their mental health, need to be better publicized. The only children's help I'd heard of when I was young was NSPCC and it wasn't until recently when I've hit Google to make enquiries, that I've discovered all of the support available.
2. The way I can see it is that if you need a chat every so often there's a lot available but if you need something more intense there's the Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHs)... I remember being referred to them for being bullied and by the time my appointment came through it had all stopped; that's another thing that needs to change: easier and quicker access to services. I guess there's some sort of balance that professionals need to get the hang of; what is part of teenage years that won't affect their entire life, and what is considered 'urgent' with them. I guess, in a way, it's best not to chance it; assume the worst because there are so many instances these days were things haven't been taken seriously and it's resulted in suicide. There's a gap in services though. The way things stand at the moment is that CAMHs and adolescent inpatient units look after you until you're 18 and then you're put straight into adult services. Personally, my problems didn't start until I was 18 so I went from a very naïve, cotton wool childhood to being on psychiatric wards with older women talking to themselves, ligaturing and being restrained. There needs to be some sort of middle service for seventeen to perhaps twenty one year olds.
3. If there were more talks in schools from mental health professionals and service users then children would have a better understanding of what is a normal experience at their age and what they should seek professional advice on. That would also help with stigma; teaching children at a young age that mental health problems are nothing to be ashamed of means setting things up for a future with less discrimination.