Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAHMS) - A Real Story From A Survivior

Today we have a guest post about mental health from Chloe of

In the midst of what has been termed Britain’s ‘Mental Health Crisis’, I wanted to share the positive experience I had under the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAHMS) when I was suffering from severe depression at the age of fifteen.

It wasn’t myself that took me to my GP scared that I was depressed, but my mum. She had noticed that I had stopped going out, enjoying anything I used to and was as she described; ‘free of any emotion’. My GP at first was reluctant to refer me to CAHMS (that problem lies with the individual GP, she was soon changed). It took battle on my mum’s, part and eventually my school getting involved, but I was soon referred to CAHMS.

Positively, my first appointment was only a few weeks after my referral and my parents were invited to come along, as they had noticed a lot of behaviours I was showing that I hadn’t and couldn’t have conveyed to my therapist. I felt this meeting was really productive, everything was out in the open and my therapist explained the treatment plan she was going to use (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)) to my parents so although they didn’t come with me again they knew what was happening.

In the first two weeks I felt like the CBT wasn’t working, I felt extremely low and begged for anti-depressants however my therapist stuck fast and refused, I am now so glad that she did. Eventually the CBT started working, in practice I was taught how to think positively again, towards myself and situations where before I would’ve been completely overwhelmed by. I know CBT doesn’t work for everybody but in my case it did.

I still have episodes of low mood and probably will always have them, but the positive thinking CBT taught me, coupled with walking my dog or cycling helps me through the times when I feel down.

My experience with CAHMS was positive however, many children and young people are being let down by a system that is not receiving enough care and attention, it’s time mental health provision was treated as seriously as it should be.

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