Thursday, 11 August 2016

The depression form

Have you ever filled in the depression form? It’s the one you have to do before anyone will help you with emotional problems on the NHS.

Something happened earlier this year that made me unbearably unhappy. And before anyone would help, I had to tick boxes to prove I was depressed.

The first time I did it, I failed the test. Because it says “in the last two weeks”, and I’m honest. I’d been on holiday for two weeks with no TV or internet and I’d managed to forget about things a bit.

I had to complain, and then I had to do the form again. And then I had to jump through some more hoops, because they try to fob you off with stuff like cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness before they will let you have something useful like counselling.

Now I still have to tick boxes every week. Because once you’ve got the help, they have to prove that it’s working.

This is what the NHS is like now. Outsourcing and box ticking.

If you get it wrong, you don’t get help. I don’t know what happens if you get it too right. I think that’s the moment when they go “this isn’t confidential any more”.

But are they the right questions anyway?

There are no questions asking about grief or loss. There are just questions about symptoms: “Feeling tired”, “Trouble concentrating” etc.

But are they the right symptoms? None of the questions ask any of the following:

Are you sad?

In the last two weeks, have you eaten a packet of Tunnock’s teacakes in one afternoon?

Do you sometimes want to scream?

Do you sometimes find calm in a glass of JD and coke?

Do you sometimes want to hide?

Are you crying?

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