Mental Health Services

I have suffered from significant depression and anxiety for the last few years, which came about due to the treatment I endured by a former employer. During this period I have struggled to get any help from mental health services at all - I am just passed from one service to the next and none of the professionals appear to understand me due to my autism. All I keep hearing is 'well that's not my area' or 'I don't specialise in that' when I ask to see someone who can treat my mental health problems and understand my autism. When I asked if adjusted CBT was available in my area (such that is appropriate for someone with autism), the answer was a straight no. Further, I get 'well we can't guarantee the same person would see you all the time, could you cope with that?' and 'well you're going to have to have a degree of flexibility and willingness to change and obviously that is going to be hard for you given your autism.' In other words, mental health services are very negative about my autism and they are unwilling to understand how it affects me because they only deal with the mental health side of things.

A few weeks ago I had a very difficult episode with my ongoing mental health and I ended up in hospital as a result. This led to me being referred to CMHT once again. Then yesterday, following a visit to my GP where I unexpectedly found out my referral to CMHT had been rejected (which nobody cared to tell me about), so I spent 6 hours chasing around 4 different mental health services because each was saying the other should be seeing me and communicating with me about what is happening, only to be ultimately told following another assessment that CMHT is the most appropriate team for me and I will be re-referred to them. Added on was the fact that if I wanted to see someone who would understand my mental health and my autism, then I would have to go privately because CMHT don't have these services.

This all just seems like utter madness to me, and it has been going on like this for years - nobody in mental health wants to deal with me because they don't understand the autism, but then services for autism say that mental health is not something they deal with. Why, just why, isn't there somebody, somewhere, that can understand both?! As my autism is a fundamental part of me, then I believe it is imperative that anybody assessing or treating my mental health understands it and how it affects me. If they can't do that, then I don't believe they can help me as they can't even begin to understand my thinking. What do you guys think? Am I being too demanding here?

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  • I'm sorry I'm a bit late to this as I've only just joined. 

    In theory, any qualified psychologist should be able to provide help. Obviously it depends on how your autism affects you with different aspects of life. They should be able to provide the same person each week as its only 6 sessions and they try to keep you with the same person so you can build trust. It helps give better results. 

    It may be worth looking at local private professionals. I had to pay for a private assessment as the NHS diagnosed me with severe depression and severe anxiety. The private assessment has shown that ASD is highly likely (along with a connective tissue disorder) and the professional has been able to provide a report with recommended treatments, plans of action etc. 

    I'm booked for CBT tomorrow... I get to break the news to the guy that I'm being referred for an autism diagnosis but would still like to attempt CBT. Its difficult I know as I've also been passed between services for over a year before getting to this point, even with suicide attempts, but keep persevering. You'll get there eventually.  

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