Ian tells his mental health story. What's yours?

Ian shares his story of trying to access mental health support and its impact on his wellbeing. Do you have an account that NHS services could learn from?

My story

Ian was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in 2014 and dissociative identity disorder (DID) in 2020.

His first diagnosis came while living in Australia. But in the eight years since Ian moved back to England, he still hasn't seen an NHS mental health professional. His treatment was limited to medication and reading information pamphlets at one point. 

Unable to access care

Ian's diagnosis has a profound effect on his life. Stressful situations can trigger dangerous DID episodes, including amnesia and panic attacks.

He recalls an episode that happened outside his local grocery store. He suddenly became very disorientated; he couldn't remember where he lived and started to panic. The next thing he remembers is lying on the ground with a gash on his head. 

Ian's treatment has improved over the last six months. He is seeing a new GP and has been in touch with a mental health nurse. But his situation is very precarious. Ian's case is complicated, and he needs therapy. But he's been told that there's nobody available in his area to treat his case.

"Thankfully, my parents have been paying for me to see a trauma therapist because I cannot afford £90 per hour once a week.

"The annoying thing is that the mental health nurse put through an urgent and detailed referral to the local Board of Psychiatry just before Christmas. Their response was to "carry on with the trauma therapy". Well, that's all well and good; however, my parents are paying for that, and I have limited sessions. I think I have two left. 

"So, once again, I feel like I have been completely let down by the NHS."

Ian has been on statutory sick pay since November. He was also diagnosed with severe digestive tract issues and is now on a surgical waiting list. This situation has also affected his mental health.

"I see all these people getting all sorts of help for their depression or anxiety yet the help I have had has been hard fought for and taken eight years! It's not good enough."

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