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Mental illness can be life threatening too…

Would cancer be so disregarded? Mental illness is life-threatening also.

This is a question asked – and an assertion made – in a powerful and troubling article that we read in the Daily Telegraph this week.

The author behind it was the novelist Anne Atkins.

It is a question that is asked – and an assertion that is made – by innumerable others.

In the article in question, Mrs Atkins is writing about her daughter.

Her name is Lara, although she is known, in the family, as Bink.

Bink was diagnosed, as a teenager, with OCD, yet was unable to access the help, support and treatment that she so obviously needed.

She took an overdose, not a serious suicide attempt, more a cry for help, dropped out of school, became dependent on drugs and medication, withdrawn from the world.

Once outgoing, confident and charismatic, quirkiness turned to loneliness, an obsession with cleanliness, with hours spent washing.

It’s difficult to read at times, but it’s not an unusual story.

The thing that makes Bink’s tale stand out is that, as a talented writer, Mrs Atkins tells it so well.

It isn’t our intention to replicate it, for we couldn’t begin to do it justice.

The reason for this blog? To highlight Bink’s terrible experience and underline the unhelpful treatment and lack of care she received.

It pleases us to report that, having managed to access private treatment, Bink is recovering well now, making great strides.

Not all, however, are so fortunate.

The tale told so eloquently, and we’d urge you to read it here, is too frequent for too many.

‘Her illness had taken over all our lives: a black hole in the centre of our family, sucking us all in,’ writes Mrs Atkins, describing a situation that will be all too familiar to many who seek our help at CPUK.

‘We held [on] to each other, like climbers tied together; if Bink fell she would take us all with her. Which I suppose, in a way, she did.’

Have YOU struggled to access the help and support required for a mental health condition?

Press reports published in the days following Mrs Atkins’ harrowing tale underline that this is a situation all too common.

Young people and children are ‘falling through the gaps’ and ‘not meeting the threshold for treatment’, according to the BBC.

‘I was turned away from the GP quite a few times,’ Kerean Watts told Victoria Derbyshire, describing, in no shortage of detail, his struggle to find support for severe depression and anxiety.

‘It made me feel like the feelings weren’t worth bothering other people about’.

This is something that, unfortunately. rings true with us all here.

It’s something that, we’re certain, will strike a chord with Bink and with Mrs Atkins.

‘In our experience – and that of many – mental health provision in our otherwise excellent NHS is so dire it is almost unimaginable,’ the latter wrote in the Telegraph.

For those in a similar dilemma, it is all too easy to picture.

In recent days, a report from the Education Policy Institute has revealed that referrals to CAMHS have risen by 26% over the last five years, yet one quarter of those in need of specialist support were rejected last year alone, many because their conditions were not considered serious enough.

That’s at least 55,800 children.

That’s not good enough.

Do YOU need help, support or advice? Unable to access the Mental Health treatment YOU need? Is it all just taking too long?

Please contact CPUK here.

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