"Life-Changing (Mental Health) Care"

About: West Yorkshire

(as the patient),

I have suffered from low mood and crippling (social) anxiety since I was a child. Aside from a brief period talking to a mental health nurse as a teenager, my problems were always dismissed by my GP at home, with years of visits only ever getting me the same printed pages of self-help and eventually the lowest dose of propranolol (beta blocker) because I would be physically shaking with nerves every university seminar I attended. I would leave the surgery tearful, feeling like a stupid child; embarrassed to have wasted their time with such an apparently trivial problem.

When I moved to Leeds to train as a nurse myself I signed up with the Leeds Student Medical Practice. I can honestly say that for 3 years I received the best quality treatment and care I could have wished for.

When I attended my first appointment I didn't have a lot of hope – just thought I'd explain that I'd been requiring a lot of my propranolol whilst on placement and that perhaps it wasn't quite the right medication to be using all the time. Despite still training as a GP, I will never forget the registrar I spoke to and her kindness and professionalism; immediately assessing me for anxiety/depression (my anxiety score was in the 'severe' range), talking through all the medical and psychological options I had and then asking what I would like to do. Since being listened to, having my problem acknowledged and starting on an SSRI that day my life has honestly changed. We are often told that pills aren't the cure, but after years of soul-searching, just being able to wake up in the morning without an overwhelming feeling of dread was euphoric. I was able to look at exam results and emails without lying in bed for hours sick with nerves first, and go into placement every day without worrying how I was going to get through the shift without showing my total fear and incompetence.

Despite it sometimes being so busy I'd have to wait for up to an hour, the staff at LSMP never showed any sign of tiredness or lack of patience; each managing to be warm, intelligent and professional, despite me having got round what must be most of the practice! From the admin/reception staff to the doctors and the nurses, they were all clearly incredibly knowledgeable, skilled and would put me at ease whenever I went in. Just knowing they'd check up on me every couple of months (and that I could go in and have a laugh with them! ) helped immeasurably; a level of support I never expected from a GP practice, and one that kept me going through my studies despite the many challenges.

I am now employed as a nurse and can only hope to provide the same level of care that LSMP did.

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