Stephanie's story

Stephanie struggled to access the support she needed through Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

“After years of hesitation and nerves, I began to open up and admit that I was struggling with my mental health, I realised I could not deal with it just myself anymore, things were becoming such a weight and I noticed that it had impacted other areas of my life.

“When I first opened up to my family about my feelings I ended up booking an appointment for the doctors in order to see if they could provide any support and answer questions.

“The doctor I met with seemed quite dismissive and gave the impression that she did not believe me when I showed her notes describing how I had been feeling.  This was something that was important to me, as it was the only way I was able to get my thoughts out there, and this is something I do not find easy. It felt like I only wasted the persons time. I felt like I didn’t get any answers about how I was feeling and if it was normal, but she did agree to put me on waiting list for CAMHS.”

“After being put on the waiting list for CAMHS, it was many months before I was contacted and learnt that I’d actually have to go through a whole process to actually be seen. Eventually I ended up being rejected as I was on holiday when the letter came in about arranging my first appointment. There was a deadline that you had to get in contact by to arrange this but because I was away I ended up missing it. I got in touch but the only support and advice they could give was for me to go through the full ordeal again.

“I felt helpless and had no idea what I was supposed to do. I was reaching out which is what they said to do, but I was still being shut down. I was terrified and I didn’t know what was going on. I was thinking, ‘what if I don’t get the help what will happen to me? Will things get worse?’ - it felt like really a big ball of emotions. The whole referral process just felt exhausting. It took a further toll on my mental health and how I dealt with it in the future, and I became closed off once again.”