NHS Waiting Lists for Therapy
Are you still on an NHS waiting list for therapy? Has it been months and you still haven’t heard anything? Unfortunately, this is a common problem, leaving thousands of people with mental health issues struggling alone. When you first approached your doctor for help, you may not have been aware of how long the standard waiting lists are, and for many people, they can continue spiralling downhill while waiting to be seen. The NHS is so overworked that some people with severe mental health issues, leading them to self-harm or suicide, are being left to wait for as long as two years for specialist support!
The British Medical Association (BMA) found that thousands of patients are waiting more than six months for access to therapy to help them to cope with their mental health issues. Long waiting times like this can be detrimental to your mental health, so seeing someone as soon as possible may be your priority once you have accepted that you need help.
Read on to learn more about the NHS waiting list problem and why you may want to seek private therapy instead.
The NHS Waiting List Issue
The BMA’s research found that in one of the NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), 3,700 patients waited more than six months for therapy and 1,500 waited for over a year. However, they also found that only one in ten NHS CCGs keep track of how long these patients are waiting. So, the true extent of the waiting time could go beyond the six months previously stated. Even more worrying is that in Leicestershire, patients waited on average two years for NHS therapy.
There are many reasons for the long waiting times. So many people are now speaking up about their mental health struggles, and sadly there aren’t enough professionals in the NHS to cope with the demand. As there is often insufficient NHS funding, they are unable to pay for more professionals or the resources, which could shorten the waiting times.
This can be very frustrating for mental health clients who spent time, energy and overcome their fears to take the big step to go and ask for help, only to be told they may have to wait months.
But Should You Wait?
Should you wait? That is an important question because if you want to understand your mental health concerns, you may not want to wait an extended length of time before starting on the road to recovery. For this reason, many people are deciding to seek private therapy. This form of treatment is usually portrayed as expensive, with a common misconception that therapists have large hourly rates and want to take as much money from their clients as possible. But it’s nothing like that. In reality, therapy can be quite affordable, and an excellent investment for those who want to work towards a healthier mindset. Moreover, therapists will only work with you as long as you need it as there is no set number of sessions as everyone is individual, and some may need less than others.
There are many different reasons why you might like to seek out a private therapist as soon as possible rather than delaying your recovery by waiting on the NHS lists. These are just a few of the reasons why so many people turn to me rather than persevering.
Unsupportive Family and Friends
Maybe you’ve decided to wait on the NHS lists, but have found that your friends and family aren’t supportive. If you are waiting months for therapy, a supportive group around you is vital to keep you going and help start your mental health journey. But, if your friends and family put you down, tell you it’s ‘all in your head’ or that you’re just ‘acting up for attention’, then this can make you feel much worse.
With no NHS therapy and no support network, one decision you can make is to go to private therapy. It may be better to meet someone who can help you, guide you and support you than leave yourself feeling alone, but surrounded still by those who cannot understand your feelings.
Therapists can help you come to terms with the abandonment and upset that you feel because of your friends and family as well as come up with ways to help them better understand your mental health issues.
You Don’t See Yourself Getting Better Soon
Many people can feel themselves slipping further away from a positive outlook each day. With no NHS counsellor in sight (for at least six months) they can start to worry about their future. This is especially concerning for those who suffer from thoughts of self-harm and suicide, as without help this could get significantly worse.
If you feel like you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, there is no shame in seeking private therapy for help. Having someone to support you and understand your feelings can be the boost you need to overcome any issues you face. Being stuck on a waiting list could lead to your depression growing and becoming unmanageable.
You Don’t Understand Your Mental Health
Consider the reasons behind your mental health worries before waiting on an NHS list. Some people realise that their mental health isn’t at its best but the reason behind it, whether it’s anxiety, depression or something else, remains a mystery to them.
Unless you take steps to learn more about your mental health and wellbeing, it could lead to further issues as well as long-lasting symptoms.
But, if you seek help from a private therapist, you can still get the same professional help, but you can understand the roots of your mental health from the beginning, halting any issues in your path before they become a lifelong issue. Private therapists are just as knowledgeable as the ones working for the NHS, so they can understand how you are feeling, and know the right tactics and give the right advice to help you overcome the difficulties you are currently experiencing.
Waiting on an NHS list can be a demoralising experience, leaving you with long-lasting worries. However, if you have the power to, seeking private therapy can get you seen immediately by professionals who are ready and willing to help. If you think therapy could benefit you, then contact me today for more information.