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Compliment for Milton Keynes Mental Health Service, “learning to take care of my


For immediate publication

1 September 2017


Compliment for Milton Keynes Mental Health Service, "learning to take care of myself."

Milton Keynes Primary Care Plus is a new service, where mental health nurses are closely working with four GP surgeries, to support patients with mental health problems who may not need support from specialist secondary mental health services.

One patient wrote to us at the end of August about their experience.

"Depression is crippling. And even in our forward thinking society, when we're so careful to try and accurately represent every disease under the sun, it's still misunderstood.I didn't understand depression to begin with - in fact I still didn't understand it after spending months with a therapist.

"I didn't know words like ‘passive suicidal ideation' and ‘negative thought patterns' - I just knew that I was afraid and in pain and unhappy, for no apparent reason. I thought that I was being stupid, because there was no trigger or cause in my misery. So I left the therapist, and tried to get on with life by myself; there was nothing wrong with me, I decided; I was just being moody.

"The thing is, I didn't stop being unhappy. It got worse.

"I went from being mostly miserable to being cripplingly sad, all the time. I went from wanting a break from living to finding myself staring over the edges of bridges and wondering what it would be like to fall. I went from scratches on my wrists to being covered in scars. I was searching for relief in any form available, and I didn't look in the best of places.

"In the end I was frightened of myself, and I realised that there must still be something wrong with me.

"I dragged myself to the GP and mumbled my story, and within a week I had a call from Primary Care Plus.

"My previous experience had been a long, long waiting list and months of waiting for a phone call, only to be told that no spaces would be available for weeks. In the state that I was in, another wait like that could have been disastrous. Primary Care Plus's accessibility and fast response were invaluable to me.

"Within two months I was making progress; I was harnessing my spirals of dark thoughts before they could pull me into black holes; I was identifying times of day at which my brain suffered most, and finding ways to help myself; I had been properly diagnosed and prescribed anti-depressants. For the first time I felt like I understood what was going on in my head. I can't explain the way I feel, or where it comes from, but I'm learning how to deal with it and not let it sink me.

"I still have depression. The pills are beginning to take effect, but I still have bad days.

"That's normal.

"But now I know that it is normal, I have hope.

"I'm not a freak, I'm not moody, I'm just sick - and Primary Care Plus knows how things like this can be made better.

"For the first time I have been listened to and understood, and also taught - so that I can learn to take care of myself again."

Tyrone Blackford-Swaries, Service Director for Milton Keynes Mental Health Services, said, "This is a great story about a new mental health service working in partnership with GP surgeries helping people to help themselves; thanks to the team for their work and thanks to this patient for sharing it."

This story, though anonymised, is used with permission.

For more details:

Contact Senior Communications Officer Jeremy Dunning on 0203 214 5756 or email
The attached photo is of Tyrone Blackford-Swaries