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Counselling support to become harder to find?


Half a million people with serious mental illness could lose access to counselling and other services as the NHS struggles to make unprecedented efficiency savings, according to The Times.

In practice, there's no safety net for many people unless they become so ill that they have to be admitted to acute psychiatric care units. Even after that, care in the community – what is supposed to happen to vulnerable people once released from acute psychiatric units – is at best patchy.

Behind this news story, victims of surgical error and medical accidents, including families bereaved by preventable hospital deaths, already find it hard to obtain any or sufficient counselling to support them.

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sometimes complicated by depression, is an unwelcome outcome of medical negligence. Early professional counselling support can help greatly, but clients up and down the country report how difficult it is to get such help.

One client's GP refused to refer her because of lack of funding, while another waited several months and still failed to get onto the appointment list.

Accident victims needing intensive therapy often report that the NHS is simply not geared up to support them. Early support and intervention is recommended for those suffering PTSD, yet a number of my clients have received little or no help or are still waiting for NHS counselling.

Sadly, suicide by people suffering mental illness is an all too common thread of cases at coroners' inquests.


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