top of page

The Difficulty in Diagnosis

It’s likely that if you’ve ever sought professional help for mental health, your first port of call has been your GP.

This is where you would get referred for any assessments or further appointments, but with the NHS often facing budget cuts and staff shortages, you could be waiting 3+ weeks for a non-urgent GP appointment.

Despite the rising popularity of over-the-phone appointments due to COVID, problematic wait times can often lead to delayed treatment and dismissed diagnoses, seemingly leaving the public with nowhere to turn.

In a society where mental health is still so stigmatised, reaching out and obtaining professional help should not be such a chore. The task of seeking assessments and diagnosis is seemingly exhausting, often causing people to opt out of the process entirely.

A 3 week wait can easily seem insignificant when referring to the bigger picture, but for someone struggling every single day, 3 weeks can be a huge turning point, especially when we take into account wait times for referred services like CAMHS.

That’s 17 weeks of little to no support, and that’s an optimistic case.

A 2022 request surrounding waiting times in Hertfordshire found that the longest wait to be seen by CAMHS was currently 167.14 weeks, or 1170 days.

This may be regarded as a worst-case scenario, but it’s important to remember that ‘worst-case scenario’ is an actual adolescent struggling with mental health, and to wait 1170 days just to be seen is appalling.

The response to said request was unable to provide the number of attempted suicides and suicide verdicts for adolescents on the CAHMS waiting list.

However, research by YoungMinds shows shocking findings following a survey completed by around 14,000 people under 25.

It was discovered that more than 26% of people surveyed had tried to take their own life due to the wait for mental health support, with 58% admitting that their mental health had grown worse in the waiting period.

It’s no surprise then, that the prospect of diagnosis is often discouraging to those struggling with their mental health. It’s often said that the initial reaching out is the hardest part, but perhaps the true struggle lies in the wait to be seen.

Waiting for treatment and begging for diagnoses can be draining, and with an estimated 67,000 people with a common mental disorder in Cumbria, it’s more important than ever to campaign against the lack of mental health resources in our area.

There is a presence of support groups locally, with Mindline Cumbria providing some excellent opportunities, but when it comes to professional support and diagnosis, we seem to fall short.

YoungMinds runs a campaign called #EndTheWait, which invites the public to call for the government to evaluate long wait times and contribute effort to England’s mental health crisis among young people.

If you wish to #EndTheWait, you can sign the campaign here and contribute to the cause.

What are your thoughts on waiting times in the UK?

10 views0 comments


bottom of page