It’s widely known that women have had to fight and wait, then wait and fight, for every basic human right in history. If we were, surprise surprise, a little bit down from all that inequality, we would have been labelled as hysterics back in the day. Things have gotten a little better in the mental health sector since then, but access to decent services is far from OK. Picture this:
You are an international queer woman of minority ethnicity, living in South East London. You didn’t get the job you wanted, because it went to a middle aged British man who mumbled his way into it. You can barely make the rent, and you really could do with some mental health support to get you out of bed. You go to your GP, who asks you every personal detail about your life.
If you are lucky, and they are nice, your GP may refer you to their partner mental health organisation. You call the administrator, who asks you every personal detail about your life. They then arrange a telephone assessment for you. A bloke calls you up and asks you even more excruciating details about your life.
You then get told someone else is actually going to be your CBT counsellor, and they will call you. Nothing is arranged. Calls then come in randomly right at the moment you are going down to the tube, or just after you’ve jumped in the shower. By this point, you are tired. Tired of oversharing, tired of to and fro chasing, tired of all the time gone by and the doubts building up about short term CBT with a counsellor you didn’t choose.
With a final bit of steam, you look into private counselling. Some of the counsellors you find seem OK, but charge £55+ a session, much to your horror. You try to figure out how your JSA might cover it, because the situation is becoming urgent. You think you work it out, until you realise that you have just cut out your food budget. It’s starting to seem totally impossible.
Finally you come across a team of counsellors in Bromley who only charge £25 a session for people claiming benefits. You don’t have to make any phone calls; you can read all about the counsellors online, choose one, and instantly book a date and time for your appointment to suit you. You look at the website and notice how the professionals include international women, women of colour, young women and LGBTQ* friendly counsellors.
No matter who you are, or what you have seen, you can turn to www.thewellbeingtherapycentre.co.uk . However, I am aware that not every woman can even afford our rates. Whilst we support those who can, I will continue to do everything I can to raise awareness about the failures of public mental health services, and what must be changed in order to get all women the help that should be on offer to them.
We are not hysterics, we are not babies, we are not failures. Our lives are hard, and we have survived them.
Let’s stick together.
For our other blogs, see: https://thewellbeingtherapycentre.co.uk/mind-feed/