Help our Parents! Reform NHS Mental Health Care for Parents/Carers

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Parents and carers have a lot on their plates; Work, their children, social lives, for some still attending school of some variation - and they have to do it all with a smile on their faces to support their young ones. So why are they being so badly failed by the health system?

Everyone who faces mental health issues know the struggle that we all face - wait times of at least 2-6 weeks to even be assessed, then further waits to be referred to an actual team after the first team have deemed your condition bad enough. Then you get placed on a nice wee waiting list and that's you - you just have to wait it out. Sometimes you can be seen in a matter of weeks (they say "as little as" a few weeks, even though every day can be a struggle when you are battling your own brain), but sometimes you can wait upwards of a year. I know I myself have waited over 14 months before finally being seen to before. At that point I didn't even know what the point was. I was so accustomed to living in constant anxiety that I had convinced myself no one would ever help me. 

So imagine my disappointment when I went to attend an appointment and was turned away because I had my child with me - this is the reality for parents out there. No, not all doctors are so heartless, but many will still rush you, not pay proper attention, and shoo you out the door as quickly as possible as soon as they see that you have a child with you. Why should we have to have compromised care simply because they don't want a toddler touching their things, or playing on the floor while they treat you. 

If anyone knows - most of the mental health referral schemes in Scotland have a rule, you miss 2 appointments and you lose your place in the scheme. Sounds reasonable enough, but they are very harsh with what counts as "missing" an appointment. It doesn't matter if you call them to inform them you can't get childcare, they'll count that as you not coming, and don't even try to arrange telephone appointments instead, because you soon get stricken off for that also. 

Do health professionals assume that a parent/carer can always find someone to mind their child? The world simply does not work that way and many parents cannot find people weekdays 9-5 - when doctors are open. The NHS has a responsibility to those with care responsibilities to give them the same quality of care (low though that may be at this point in time) as others who are also struggling.

It wouldn't be hard to do. One day a week with childcare professionals, or even volunteers if it is an issue of money, who can watch your children in the waiting area with some toys etc while you go to your appointment - even better would to be a separate room for children to play so they are not bothering those who are also waiting to be seen by their GP/specialist. There are many ways this could be rectified, the idea above is just off the top of my head. 

Please, please sign this petition and bring to light the shortfalls parents are facing. Share your stories if the same has happened to you, spread the word. 
#HelpOurParents



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