It is 2 years since the Manchester Arena bombing, Cheryl has been absent from school since, despite 5 sessions of counselling at a well known Children’s Hospital. She and her Aunt (also a victim of the bombing) were invited to consider variously that Cheryl may be autistic, her difficulties may be a product of her mum’s childhood stressors, she may have PTSD and they need family therapy. All of which I found to be total rubbish.
The limited counselling she had only occurred because the Manchester Hub (set up to simply signpost people in the aftermath of the bombing) made regular contact with the Hospital. In fact all she was suffering from was panic disorder with agoraphobic avoidance and illness anxiety disorder. Within 2 sessions she has already made rapid progress.
Her aunt has had twelve sessions with an IAPT service followed by group therapy which she dropped out of. She was never offered any diagnosis. Two years on she is still struggling. Neither Cheryl or her Aunt have had anywhere significant to turn to to protest (the Hospital has made a half apology about being short staffed). But for both children and adults it is not just a question of money, the quality of service is woeful.
There is a pressing need for an action line for those failed by Mental Health Services.
Two years ago I wrote the book ‘Towards a Mental Health System That Works’ London, Routledge, the system is no better, just that some agencies are highly skilled at self-promotion and thereby expansion, MPs have been taken in by this and like to be seen to be on the side of mental health.
Dr Mike Scott