CHAOS TO COSMOSThe path from chaos to cosmos was discovered by telling one's life story

Friday, 11 December 2009

Lack of access to mental health counselling services

Just to give you an idea of how hard it is to get any help ... Earlier on in the year, I started seeing a counsellor, arranged at and via the local Citizens Advice Bureau. The sessions were useful, so I was disappointed when they ended, supposedly because the counsellor had an accident and broke his leg whilst on holiday.

The Citizens Advice Bureau told me to phone them back in a few weeks to see if there was any news. I left it for around 6-8 weeks and did so. At that time, they told me that the guy's leg might not actually be broken, but that they still didn't have any news, could I phone back in another couple of weeks ... 

Thus, I waited again, phoned back again and was told by the person on the phone that time that they thought it was the counsellor's wife who had had the accident. Fishy? They still couldn't give me any news though. 

They suggested - guess what? - yup, ring back at a later date!

So, again I left it for a while, figuring that if the first guy had merely decided not to continue donating his time (his prerogative), as he did have other "clients" he saw at the CAB office, maybe by now they might have a new arrangement. 

And so today, I phoned the CAB again in hopes of asking the question. When I explained that I had seen the counsellor through them earlier in the year, but that it had ended due to some sort of accident the counsellor had and that I'd been told to phone again ... I was snottily told that they could not discuss this issue over the phone, I would have to go to the office in person. It isn't like I want to discuss anything sensitive or personal on the phone, just get an appointment.

Going to their offices means another trip into town - that causes me to crash severely and spend the next week in bed. I'd reluctantly consider doing that to gain the benefits from the actual session, but I draw the line at such an off-chance visit. I only want to know if they have someone who offers a service I was already getting and, if so, to make a new appointment. Surely, this can be done - as they told me to - over the phone. You can guarantee they will have a huge queue - bearing in mind that I can't stand and even sitting causes me a lot of pain.

Why do I need to go to the CAB for this anyway? Because this service was offered free through the CAB. The NHS, it seems, can't or won't offer counselling at all - I've asked my GP for this kind of help twice, but getting a prescription for fluoxetine is as much as I've got - and I can't afford to pay to go privately.

I explained that going to the office was difficult. Actually, that it would cause me great difficulty because I am quite severely disabled - so I reckon their refusal would be tantamount to abelism and fails to make reasonable adjustments for disability - if it wasn't already unreasonable to refuse to make appointments over the phone for anyone! Their only suggestion was that I go in the afternoon, as they are less busy then. That hardly helps. It makes this a completely impossible proposition and leaves me unable to access their 'help' at all.

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