If there is one question we get asked more than most it is “How do I go about getting a diagnosis for BPD in the UK?” and while there are a number of ways you can do this most of them require payment of some kind that most people simply can’t afford it. So that leaves the only free route there is and that is via the NHS. A quick Google and you will soon find the ways you have to do this.
Talk to your GP first
This text is taken directly from the NHS website and is not changed in any way: “You’ll need to talk to your GP to use some mental health services. This is known as a GP referral. Your GP can also talk to you about your mental health and help introduce you to the right mental health service for your needs.” You don’t need us to tell you that some people are waiting weeks, even months for a GP’s appointment and that can put an instant barrier towards getting that all-important diagnosis, but the stories of what happens when you then ask your GP about accessing these services is when things really start to get muddy.
It’s simply not that simple!
While some people will get lucky and find a sympathetic GP to refer them to these services most people tell us that their GP will simply dismiss their opinions and ignore their request for help in accessing them! So where does that leave you? Well, according to the NHS website it is as easy as doing a self-referral!
Again, these words are taken directly from the NHS website: “Get help without talking to your GP: There are also some mental health services that you can use without talking to your GP first. This is known as self-referral. For example, you may be able to refer yourself for help with drug problems and alcohol problems. You can also use self-referral to access talking therapies.” Now this is simply not true because on the next page it tells us that “You need to be registered with a GP to get talking therapies on the NHS.”
Even if you jump through all these hoops you are sadly only presented with various articles, podcasts and PDFs that you can find anywhere else online for free! Oh, you were hoping for face-to-face therapy meetings? Sorry, you need to go through the GP referral for that and even then you will only be given 10 weeks of free therapy!
A member of a mental health forum had this to say…
Looking for treatment for BPD? Good luck because most commonly they lump you together in a support group with other borderlines and claim that is support and treatment. No. that is not what borderlines need. this is a serious mental illness. Those support groups are barely facilitated groups, by which I mean to say, the input from mental health staff is minimal, and how can severely ill people really help others in a support group when they are severely struggling themselves? Come on, that’s not treatment.
The number of people I know with BPD that are quite frankly abandoned in their hour of greatest suffering is appalling and disgusting. Most commonly they don’t even get to see a psychiatrist, because psychiatrists are “full”. Therapy is “full”. The amount of waiting time they have to endure ups the risk of them killing themself before they get that said help. Worse, I have seen a number of people turned away for psychological treatment because their issues are “too severe”. (Yes, you read that correctly). “
With waiting times in the years rather than the hours or days you might be needing you might think all is lost. But there are a few success stories as well with people being offered the help, medication and therapy that they need, but more often than not you do have to fight for it! If your GP won’t refer you to mental health services, ask for a 2nd opinion, call the NHS hotline, go to A&E in your times of need and fight for the help you need because it is out there.
Even if you have no fight left inside of you there is plenty of self-help out there. Sites like this one, forums and Youtube channels offer some help and support. Sure, you might have to travel the road to a better life yourself, but it will make the journey so much more worth it. Never give up the fight to live a normal life as it is possible, it’s just so much harder than most people realise.
If you have any questions, or advice for other people with BPD do leave a comment, or get in touch with us via the Contact page.