From my, quite vast, experience of MH services, I’ve always found there to be a distinct lack of treatment that is tailored to the individual person. Instead, one is ‘labelled’, put in a box and treated accordingly, in the same manner as hundreds of others.
The problem with this is that no two people with a MH condition are the same. Everyone has a different story, a different set of symptoms, different needs; what works for one, may not work for another. I myself have always been quite therapy-resistant, and medication has been more helpful. I find the commitment to things like CBT quite stress-inducing in itself; these things are usually limited to a specific number of sessions, which makes it difficult for me to let my guard down, risk getting close/dependent on someone, for it to be taken away just as quickly (I think this comes back to my having some BPD traits). I’d prefer a set-up without such a rigorous structure or time constraints; a chance to sit and chat to someone without any judgement or (worse) expectation that I will practice breathing exercises and complete homework exercises. But such a thing wouldn’t be time or cost-effective for the NHS, an organisation that is under-funded, under-resourced and bursting at the seams.
Where I stay, there are two or three resources/clubs/groups available to MH service-users. But none of them really cater for ‘people like me’. Don’t get me wrong, these places/services are fabulous at what they do, and I have no doubt that they offer vital support to a certain type of person. I don’t know how to put what I’m thinking down without being politically incorrect in some way, so I’ll illustrate my point with an example…
…I used to attend a walking group facilitated by the CMHT. In a group of, say, 15 people, there was perhaps one with whom I could have a coherent conversation. Most of the others seemed to have learning disabilities (ranging from mild to quite profound) or addiction backgrounds. I think it’s great that that walking group exists, and that there are so many who obviously benefit greatly from it. But it was not an environment conducive to my getting better.
What I’d like, is a safe environment (such as the walking group above) but for people with anxiety/depression/ED/PD difficulties, people who could all relate to one another. An environment that allowed respite, some breathing space, a chance to chat, drink tea, listen to music, read, write, draw, play board games. Now that would be cool.