Man's plea to end 'ridiculous' waits for mental health support

A leading GP has called for more action on children's mental health. Picture: Archant

A man with a personality disorder has been told it is a six to 12 month wait for support. - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk man says he may have to wait between six to 12 months for support for a personality disorder as he urges for more to be done to end "ridiculous" waits.

The man, who lives near Ipswich, spoke of his experience to access support to address his borderline personality disorder.

The 42-year-old, who asked to remain anonymous, saidhe also suffers from anxiety depression, parental alienation and despair. but has been told to wait six to 12 months. 

"The treatment isn't being given out quick enough," he said. "It's really frustrating with mental health.

"Mental health can not and should not involve a waiting list."

He visited Woodlands mental health unit on October 27 and spent two hours being assessed by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust. 

The trust had 57,520 referrals in 2019/2020, had 33,720 enter treatment and 13,810 finish treatment.

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NSFT told him to self-refer to the charity Mind for a Waves course, which supports people with a diagnosis or traits of Borderline Personality Disorder.

He was then sent a letter that it would be a six to 12-month wait for help.

The 42-year-old man was also told by Mind they would follow up within three months again but he has not received a reply.

 He said: "A six to 12-month wait for individuals is ridiculous. 

"Would they say that at the hospital if you were having a heart attack? 

"People would find it crazy to wait six months. Mental health is just the same."

A spokeswoman for Suffolk Mind said waiting times to access its Waves service vary depending on the location of a potential client. 

The spokeswoman said: "The service is a year-long programme and all groups have a limit to their size to ensure they are safe, effective and helpful to the participants.

“Recently, as with all mental health services, there has been a substantial increase in referrals, especially in Ipswich, and clients may be waiting over a year before they can join."

A spokesman for NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk and NHS West Suffolk clinical commissioning groups, said it would continue to have an active strategy to support people in the community and work with partners to address challenges created by the pandemic

Suffolk Night Owls, available between 7pm and 1am, is a crisis avoidance support service for those on the Waves waitlist. 

The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) helpline is at 0800 58 58 58 and is open 5pm to midnight and by texting the word ‘SHOUT’ to 85258 you will start a conversation with a mental health charity volunteer at Shout.

If you're struggling and need to talk, the Samaritans operate a free helpline open 24/7 on 116 123. Alternatively, you can email jo@samaritans.org or visit their site to find your local branch samaritans.org.