Getting the help you need in the NHS system – Mental Health | Kati Morton


– Hey everybody. Happy Thursday. Now today I have a
wonderful and special guest. A fellow Kenyan, Megs,
is here to talk about the NHS system in the UK, and how you go about
getting mental health help, and disability, and all of that stuff, and I just want to thank
each and every one of you for your support in the community. Every time you comment on a comment, or help a fellow Kenyan, know that I see it, and I truly, truly, appreciate it. And I want to thank Megs for
putting herself out there for filming. I know it makes all of you very nervous when I ask you to do things like this, but thank you for sharing
all of your insights. This is so helpful for each
and every one of us to know when we go about getting help
in a different system, right? I live in the States, and
I only know our system. So it’s great to understand
what the NHS system is, and how it works. (hip hop music) – Hi, it’s Megs. I’m just filming this
video on UK disabilities, NHS, all those kind of things. People who might not know how to get help, both, for treatment and financially. So Kati’s given me a few
questions to kind of go through. I’m going to give you a
little background on me, and then like the things
that I just mentioned. – And the first question
that I have for you, Megs, is how did you know that
you needed more help, and how did you go
about getting that help? I know that there are
lots of different stages, like getting a therapist,
and how many session you get. But in the NHS, don’t you need to be referred first from your GP? Let us know. – Simply, without getting too personal, originally I went to the GP not long after starting a new job, and I felt like my mood
was kind of slipping, and that’s been a pattern for me. Whenever there’s been some
like big change or whatever, and I think that’s
quite common experience. A few months went by, I
got a low dose of an SSRI, and continued to be able to work, and some help through access to work. Which I don’t know if you
know anything about that, but it’s something we have in the UK that helps people retain work. So if there’s things that they can modify, I was given funding for an assistant who works for a local support charity, and they were able to come in, and kind of be on the job
support in the morning when things are really stressful. So after some time of not feeling better, which is about four months, after going to the GP first I guess. My GP suggested she referred me for the first line of NHS therapy, which, in my area, and I’m
pretty sure in most areas, is Depression Anxiety Service, which most NHS trusts have, and offer like six to 12 week programs for weekly appointments. Sometimes every other week,
it depends on your schedules. It’s works really great when
things are just starting to get a bit like you’re not managing, but you’re not off with the fairies, I like to describe it for me. Where your daily life’s still manageable, and this is there to kind of stop it from getting worse, but for
me, I’d already got worse, and it wasn’t really appropriate. Wait time for that in most
areas though is really short, so like, two to four weeks, which, if you’re in work, you get couple a weeks off work, to like, so you’re not worrying about
going to this appointment, or whatever, or that’s
how long it takes for like a new SSRI to sort of kick in. So it’s like a good wait time. On the day of the appointment, I attempted suicide on the way there. I disclosed this to the therapist, and she called the local crisis team. They’re kind of the next thing. The crisis team, work either out of A&E or the local mental health unit. They usually see you within a few hours. It’s kind of like the trauma treatment. Not trauma as in whoa, trauma, but say you went to A&E,
and you had a broken leg, and it’s like the first
line trauma treatment. So the next day, (clears throat) they came and saw me, and then
they stayed in close contact for several days until
my case was passed along to the local mental health team. Now this, this is the good bit, right? Once you get referred to them, you start actually getting help. You don’t get brushed aside. You don’t get told that what is going on isn’t a big deal. This can also come as
a referral from a GP. You don’t have to have a massive
A&E suicide crisis thing. It’s normally a GP referral to
a psychiatrist for diagnosis, and then you go into their
mental health system. Right, so, a month after that, so we’re now, like, six months in, I was given an appointment to be accessed by the mental health team. It’s a reasonably lengthy induction. Rather than one meeting, I had like, honestly I couldn’t tell you how many, because I was pretty away
with everything at the time. So maybe like six, eight to 12 weeks. Kind of weekly appointments. So the kind of conclusion
to that particular part, once they’d accessed me I was passed on to the full time care team
for mental health unit. So, I was allocated a Care Coordinator, they’re also known as a CPN, which is, clinical something, clinical psychological nurse. I think, something like that. He’s fantastic, he actually
is really, really helpful. I know not everybody has a
great experience with them, but mine is lovely, and he really, really
cares about his patients. – Thank you so much for
sharing all of that information and details. It’s really helpful to know your story, and how it worked for you, but I’m just curious, how
long did you have to wait to get that help? Was there tons of paperwork
you had to fill out? And did anyone help you in the process? – We’re about 18 months in, that’s bad, I was given further
assessment for psycho therapy. Thank God, right? Actually my CPN apologized
this didn’t get done earlier, but waiting list, waiting
list, waiting list, waiting list, waiting list. The story of the NHS. So of the outcome of the assessment was, I was placed on a waiting list. Another one, and told six to eight months. So, in total, from going to
GP appointment to theoretical, actually hasn’t happened
yet therapy, two years. Yeah, there wasn’t paperwork. I presume there was paperwork,
but the Care Coordinator dealt with that so, no paperwork for me, other than signing, “Yes
I’m happy for this”, and, “Yes you can share
this information with, this assessment information
with this person and my GP”. – Now after all of this work, and waiting, and going through different
levels of treatment. Do you really feel like you
get the help that you need now? Or are there ways that
it could be improved, or things that you wish they offered? – Considering it’s been such a long time, no, not really, but they’re trying, and I am getting all the
things that I’m able to get. So, when they sort it out that
I will be starting therapy, I was moved from an NHS support worker, who generally doesn’t work
with people long, long term, like I said she worked with
me for about eight months, and moved to Mind support work, because Mind is a UK charity,
mental health charity, and part of what they do
is provide support hours for people with mental health problems. You can go directly to them. Funding comes through either the NHS, or your local council social care. And those are things that you don’t have to deal with that paperwork. For me, my CPN Care Coordinator
dealt with that paperwork, and procuring that funding, but Mind will work with
you to do that as well. – And I’m curious, does your disability, or whatever term they use in the UK, does it cover your living expenses, and costs of your life? Or can you work as well? Or is it just like the states, like there’s a limit to how
much you can actually work? – At the moment, I personally don’t work, I might sound really put
together, and look nice today. I’ve got to go out with my
family I’m not feeling it, but I’ve put the mask on. It’s gonna be okay. Christmas was not great. (deep breaths) Right, so, there’s two main
benefits in this country to help with people who are disabled. So, yes. A lot of them, you read
the questions, you think, “Oh, dear God this is just for people who have physical disabilities”. It’s not, and your mental
health is as important, and as physical as anything else. Please, don’t think that you don’t deserve to be taken care of, and
take care of yourself, cause you do, okay? So, took way loads of
time for me to get my head around accepting that I needed this, because all I wanted to do
was use my education, which, took a while, really worked
hard at, had a great job, fell to pieces, it’s okay to need help. Right? Okay, so, two main ones. So, there’s Employment
Support Allowance, ESA, and Personal Independence Payments, PIP. PIP you can get regardless
of whether you’re working, or not working. It’s a benefit to pay for
the daily living necessities that are more difficult for you, because you have problems, right? For me, I find my self care
really, really difficult. So, those are the things that I discussed when I went for my PIP interview. ESA is an out-of-work
benefit for people who aren’t able to work because
of their disability. ESA has two different levels of payment. One, the higher level, I can’t
remember what it’s called. Support group, support group I think. That’s the one that I’m in. It’s for people that
they deem unable to work. So that incurs a slightly
higher level of payment. Then, the one underneath is, something to do with employment it says, but basically what it is,
is you’re given assistance towards finding work that
you’re capable of doing. It’s not fair, it all
kind of adds in together, and if you get over this
certain points threshold you get everything, and if
you don’t you get nothing, and it’s really, really difficult, and really, really unfair, but it’s how system works, and
you have to work the system. But also, I have something called an Essential Visitors Permit, which is, because my house doesn’t
have free parking. It has pay parking, and
local residence parking. I applied to council, this
came super, super quick. It’s just a little visitors permit, cause I don’t have my own car. A visitors permit, so when
people come to visit me, they can park on the street
parking without having to park miles and miles
away, and walk to see me. So, enables me to have visitors. So look up Essential Visitors Permit with your local council. And then I did say that I
would talk to people about social housing if they wanted to, but I’ll mention a little bit about it. I’m currently living in social housing, because I was living with family. My mental health made it impossible for me to continue to live with them, and I wasn’t working. So I wasn’t in a position where I could save for a deposit, or
afford rent payments, which, you can get rent assistance anyway, but I wasn’t able to get a tenancy. So I was referred by my
CPN to a housing officer who works with the mental health team, but you can go direct to the council, and talk to them, and make
sure you take someone with you. But normally, having
mental health problems, and living in an
unsuitable living situation like with people who can’t support you, or it’s making your situation worse maybe you live with someone
who was part of the trauma that has caused your mental health. They’ll bound you to allow you to move. – And lastly, I guess, what
advice would you give to someone who thinks that maybe they need more help? – Right, if you’re thinking
about it, go get it. These things take time in the UK. It’s better to start now than
wait til things get worse. And then it can take so,
so, so, so much longer. If you’re thinking about
getting help, you do need help. Don’t feel like you’re a burden. Don’t feel like you don’t deserve it. Don’t feel like you’re bothering people. Don’t be British basically. Just go, “I need help. “If I get help now, it’s not gonna be “a big deal for as long”. I really wish, wish, wish,
wish, wish, that I had that first time I went to
my GP, that I just said, “Look, I know this is gonna get worse.” Because this has happened to me before. I had this breakdown. Another one 10 years ago that
lasted a good couple of years. I knew what was coming, but I didn’t push. Push while you still have
the strength to push, and find people who help you push while you still have the strength to push. You already feel like you
don’t have strength to push. Just get help. Get what you can, as soon as you can, and keep trying, because there is hope even if some days it
doesn’t feel like there is. Like yesterday, super shitty, today, trying to feel like there’s hope. And you can too. So I guess that’s it. I hope I’ve covered everything. If you have anymore questions for me, Kati please let me know, and anybody else, like I said, I’ll answer your questions. Hope everybody’s 2017 is great. – Thank you Megs for taking
the time to film this, and to share your story, and
for going into detail about what it looked like for you. It’s so beneficial, and educational for me to better understand what
it looks like over there in the NHS system, and if you’re in the States,
and you’re curious about our system of care and how
it works, click over here. I did a video with Jayden a while back, where he shares how his process was, and what worked for him getting disability here in the States, and if
you have different experiences please share in the comments, because together we learn more, and work together towards a
healthy mind and a healthy body. And I’ll see you all next time. Bye! (Motown music)

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