While it is important not to dismiss the role medication has in managing mental health it is striking the amount of clients who contact us upset at being prescribed medication without any structured form of assessment.
Many of these clients are upset they are being put on medication first instead of getting offered counselling or alternative supports. In many of these cases NICE guidelines actually concur with these client’s views by highlighting that medication should not be the first step in terms of recommended best practice.
We also get a lot of enquiries from those trying to come off medication struggling to find resources beyond their GP appointment. The below article demonstrates the disparity in investment between medication & counselling in primary care. It is also worth noting that counselling in primary care (CIPC) is only available on a short term basis to medical card holders leaving many clients struggling with the costs of private therapy generally not covered by private health insurers.
The increase in discussion and awareness about mental health is very welcome but there is a long way to go in terms of seeing the same level of improvement in actual services, supports and resources for clients outside medication.
The below article by Ceire Sadlier describes her experience involving both Doctors and Counsellors as she gradually decided to come off medication for anxiety & depression.
She describes something that many clients can feel namely the pressure to “come off” medication which can be unhelpful and in some cases dangerous if not managed correctly.
The article also describes an initial negative (and expensive) experience when looking for counselling support. This is something many clients describe which underlines the need for clients to research their therapists and to look around until they find one which fits and where a therapeutic relationship can develop.
What may work for one client in terms of a therapist may not necessarily work for another. Therapists have been trained in different modalities and also often have specific specialties and post qualification training in specific areas. All questions to ask about when making contact.
The below article from the Irish times explores how difficult support for mental health concerns like anxiety can be in Ireland and also how confusing the current system is to navigate.