‘It felt like I was drowning’ - Somerset mental health patient on being made to wait for treatment

Jo suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and depression following the loss of her partner and child. Credit: ITV News West Country
  • By Ben McGrail, ITV News West Country Somerset Correspondent

Waiting times for mental health treatment have fallen in Somerset - after ITV News revealed some people were waiting on average 42 weeks for one type of therapy.

When the figures were first exposed in 2017, the charity Mind said it was the longest they'd heard of in the country.

Although they have come down, the NHS has promised to get them even lower.

Jo, from Frome, is receiving a form of treatment called EMDR.

By focussing on the movement of her therapist's fingers, it is hoped she can talk about traumatic events and ease their impact.

Jo and her therapist. Credit: ITV News West Country

Jo's partner, Ben, died whilst she was pregnant. Her baby, Billie-Rose, then died at six-months-old.

The tragic losses of her partner and child in such a short timespan caused Jo to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

Like many people in a time of need, Jo turned to the NHS for treatment - but was made to wait.

Jo was made to wait in order to get treatment on the NHS. Credit: ITV News West Country

“We want help and we want that help immediately and that's not always possible,” she said.

“For me, it felt like I was drowning by having the referral in knowing I was just waiting to be seen. I knew that there was a lifeline.”

How you can get support:

  • Samaritans: Telephone: 116 123 (24 hours a day, free to call)

  • Mind: Telephone: 0300 123 3393 (9am-6pm Monday to Friday) or text 86463