"Let down by services"

About: Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust / Adult community mental health

(as a service user),

My story has been going on for about two and a half years but actually consisted of eight weeks of sessions.  I attended therapy sessions through the Somerset Partnership.  It took me over a year to gain access to the service and at the time it was very helpful but obviously it came to an end.  The sessions unearthed lots of problems going back a lifetime for myself.

About three or four months ago I realised I needed more sessions but was informed that I could no longer have face-to-face sessions.  Instead I was offered Talking Therapy which takes place in the form of a telephone call.  I agreed to this and once again had to wait for an appointment to be sent to me, this finally came through for September.  I filled in the relevant survey required and at the time of my appointment there was a couple of good things happening in my life, I was studying for my degree and so I was having a better day.  The therapist decided I did not require any further sessions and sent me a booklet through the post to help me.  The booklet suggests when feeling down or depressed to read a novel, go for a walk or do something you enjoy.  I have been trying to use this approach for many years and for me it does not work as a stand alone remedy.

To speak with my own GP takes almost a full morning on the phone to get through and then I will just be prescribed pills which disguise not solve the problem.  I don't want that for the rest of my life.

I was directed to an online low cost counselling service but the nearest session to me is in Yeoval .  I am from a small village where there is no public transport to enable me to attend the session.  A taxi-cab would cost a further fifty pounds round trip.  I no longer own a car as I cannot afford to run one.  I am currently studying but health issues require that I need to postpone my studies until I feel in a better frame of mind.  I am at home all day alone and currently find myself watching endless daytime television or passing my time playing Sims 4.  I do not want this to be the rest of my life.

I feel let down by the lack of services available to help me and do not know where to go for now for the help I need.  I am a woman over sixty, home alone all day in a tiny village not knowing what my next steps are.  


Response from Associate Director of Mental Health & Learning Disability Services, somerset partnership NHS foundation trus 5 months ago
Submitted on 29/10/2019 at 18:50
Published on Care Opinion on 30/10/2019 at 12:50

Dear sunfe57, thank you very much for taking the time to email to let us know of your experience with the Somerset Partnership services. It sounds as if you initially had a good experience and the counselling was helpful, but that things have deteriorated for you recently, I hope that you are ok. it is very difficult when people are trying to access services with limited transport, but are you aware that you can self refer to the Talking Therapies again? If you go onto the website somersettalkingtherapies.nhs.uk you can see that there is a section where it says 'refer yourself'. You an also contact them by phone on 0300 323 00 33 and can book yourself in for contact by one of the team.

I hope that you feel able to try this and that things improve for you in the future.

Response from Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust 5 months ago
Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
Submitted on 30/10/2019 at 09:29
Published on Care Opinion at 09:29

Dear Sunfe57

I’m very sorry to read that you feel so let down by our service. We try very hard to meet the needs of all our patients, and value feedback to try and learn where we can improve.

It is encouraging that you found your initial therapy sessions helpful. We are a short term, time-limited service so 8 sessions is the normal contract offered to all patients.

You describe returning to the service several months later and being told you could no longer have face-to-face sessions. There is very strong evidence from clinical trials that low intensity therapy by telephone is highly effective and is in no way an inferior treatment to face-to-face. The choice of this treatment would have been made based on your initial assessment session. Such telephone support is also available more promptly currently. It is curious that your therapist decided you did not need further sessions, if you were describing feeling the way you outline in your post here. I could look into that further with you if you were happy to ring me as below, so I can identify your record on our database. Again the booklet you were sent has been carefully researched and created to offer patients help.

If you are not able to access the low cost counselling service mentioned, you may like to consider other supportive groups etc in the local community. We could offer you such information, or it would be available from your GP surgery or your local village agent. You describe being alone in a small village – making such local social contacts may prove effective for your general wellbeing.

Marc McDonagh
Service Lead, Talking Therapies
T: 07733 311654