Service User Stories
Darrell has shared his experience of accessing support from Steps2wellbeing
It was with a mixture of trepidation and partial relief that I self-referred online for my insomnia problem and anxiety. Within a few days I was assessed on the phone by a senior knowledgeable assessor which was a painless but probing experience. Then a few days later I was on my first phone call to my assigned therapist who had already done her research.
As with all first engagements over the phone, it took a while to settle down, start to trust each other and feel ready to discuss the important matters close to my heart and distressing me. It was made clear to me that at any time there could be a rethink leading to a potential change in therapist and this felt reassuring. It showed that the service really cared about matching their patients carefully to ensure they receive the best care possible.
Having gone through some severe mental health episodes twelve years earlier in London, I was not expecting too much to happen and thought that it will be more tablets, some talking therapy and advice to be patient with perhaps a visit to a psychiatrist if it got too bad. However, it was refreshing to have a tailored personal treatment plan which was carefully supervised and used a whole new set of techniques that I would have benefitted from many years ago. Mental health treatment has been in the spotlight and has advanced a great deal.
For me, completing a simple sleep log, a worry log and making some simple lifestyle adjustments proved to be the route that I needed to turn around my most recent health episode. Whilst I was happy for an arrangement of scheduled weekly phone calls, it was still possible to exchange emails at other times, make adjustments and share information. This felt like I had my own personal therapist available every day who was looking after my mental health needs. She really got to know me and understand me and was very approachable.
A month later I was discharged from the mental health team help with the advice to please self-refer again if I needed them. As an existing service user, it was likely that I would receive a faster response, subject to demand and needs. I just got to the point that I was self-reliant and had some new life skill tools to help me. My confidence had been rebuilt and I was not going to look back.
Summing up, for me, the more effort that I put into the relationship with my therapist, the easier it was for me to be helped and make progress. I must admit that some of her ideas were a surprise but by keeping an open mind they all helped me. Writing down and logging my problems gave me and my therapist the necessary insight to my health and a workable treatment plan. You cannot judge how good a therapist is by their gender, age, origin or qualifications. In my view, it is by how good you are working together as a team with a common aim in mind.