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Being Suicidal & Help In This Country

March 21, 2018

Over the past couple of weeks, I've felt increasingly suicidal. That doesn't necessarily mean I want to end my life all of the time, but the thought is always there. Self harm has gone hand in hand with these feelings, and the amount I harm myself has also increased.

I've noticed since I was fourteen, when I first tried to commit suicide, that the mental health services in this country are seriously lacking. I have overdosed around six or seven times since I was fourteen, and never once was I kept in hospital overnight, referred to a psychiatric hospital or given immediate therapy/help. It really begs the question, what does it take to actually get some consistent help?

When I was eighteen I was referred for psychotherapy to help deal with the effects of trauma I had encountered throughout my life. Even though this treatment was incredibly helpful, the therapist gave me sporadic appointments, sometimes up to eight weeks apart, only to end my treatment with her after around six sessions, with her reasoning that I "wasn't ready". I wasn't ready after multiple suicide attempts, a mental breakdown and severe depression and anxiety that had left me with no choice but to drop out of college. What would have meant I was ready? What can mean someone is more ready for therapy than somebody who has tried to take their own life?

Another time I was failed by the mental health service in this country was when I was referred to a psychologist and psychiatrist. The psychologist seemed to have no idea how to treat me, and the psychiatrist hadn't even read my file, as when I entered the room, he asked me "why are you here?". I then spent three hours trying to convince this so-called psychiatrist that I desperately needed help, only for him to then suggest counselling to me, which I had spent the whole time explaining was of no use to me as it didn't work. Safe to say, I didn't go back to him.

The only constant and supportive person in the NHS I have had throughout my mental health journey is my Doctor. Not only is she supportive, but she is caring and always has my best interests at heart. Even when I missed my appointments without ringing up to cancel, she would still ring me to make sure I was okay and hadn't done anything silly. I have been seeing her for five years now, and most likely wouldn't be here without her. It's a shame that people within the mental health service weren't as attentive and caring as she is.

Most recently, I have been referred to Forward Thinking for therapy due to my self harm, suicide attempt and depression. However, even though I expressed I urgently needed this help, as I want to take my life, and have tried as recently as three weeks ago, the earliest appointment they could offer me was in February. What good is an appointment over two weeks away to someone who is suicidal and often on the edge of killing themselves?

As much as I understand that the mental health service is under strain, it's not good enough. Millions of people with mental illnesses are being failed and left to become even more ill because there is no sense of urgency. Six month waiting lists, months waiting for an appointment, doctors not caring - it isn't good enough. It has gotten to the point where I am past caring, if the people who are meant to help me don't care, why should I?

Feeling suicidal is so lonely and isolating. I haven't felt this alone since my mental breakdown in 2013, and am constantly on edge. It's heartbreaking knowing that the people who can help, won't. There isn't enough urgency around it. I can only hope that I hold on long enough to get the help I so desperately need.

I can also only hope that in the future, mental illness is taken as seriously as other illnesses. More and more people are killing themselves, because there isn't enough support. It's all well and good having phone lines to ring, but consistent therapy, or contact with a mental health professional would be so much more beneficial in helping people begin recovering from their illness.

Maybe one day. 

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