The More Mentally Unwell You Are, the Longer You Wait for Care...


In a survey Rethink Mental Illness carried out with 1,602 people with, or caring for someone with, a mental illness:

·       28% were not referred to an appropriate service by their GP

·       56% did not receive treatment in the appropriate time

·       51% found they did not receive treatment for a sufficient and appropriate length of time

·       20 people* said they had thought about suicide following inadequate treatment for their mental health conditions

Anne*, a carer who took part in the survey, said:  

“These answers are on behalf of my husband, who sadly took his own life six weeks ago. There was inadequate support and too long a wait for crucial therapy. He was originally under the home treatment team after a suicide attempt, then transferred to the mental health team after a few weeks. The level of care and support under this service was appalling, despite my husband constantly expressing suicidal thoughts. I truly believe that, if he had received talking therapy sooner, he would still be here.”

Kay*, who took part in the survey, told us:

“I’ve been in recovery since 2013 and I’m now tired and suicidal. I want counselling, someone to talk to without judgement, but I was told that counsellors don’t like to take on people with my diagnosis, which is borderline personality disorder. I’m struggling with rejection and loneliness as it is. This in itself makes me more suicidal and dead inside.”

Brian Dow, deputy CEO at Rethink Mental Illness said:

“What we want is right treatment, right time but what we too often have is wrong treatment, too late. Thousands of people find themselves in desperate situations every year, but have to contend with long waits, bureaucracy, and a severe lack of choice about their care. The result is that far too many people reach crisis point before getting help.

*Some names have been changed to protect poeple's anonymity. 

About the data

The statistics used in this report appear in Right Treatment, Right Time and are based on a survey of 1602 people with either direct or carer experience of mental health care in England.

The survey ran between August and September 2018.