New documentary to give voice to mental health patients waiting months for treatment

Alyssa Girvan and a group of volunteers are putting together a documentary exploring mental health s

Alyssa Girvan and a group of volunteers are putting together a documentary exploring mental health services in Norfolk. Picture: Alyssa Girvan - Credit: Alyssa Girvan

A new documentary will explore the impact of mental health services in Norfolk by speaking to the people waiting months on end for treatment.

A kickstarter campaign has been launched to cover production costs of the While We Wait documentary, which will focus on the impact of low funding on mental health services, including the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT), and the long waiting lists patients have to suffer through.

Director and producer Alyssa Girvan said the documentary will give a voice to those waiting for life-saving help.

She said: 'Reflective of the national crisis in mental health, this documentary hopes to raise awareness of the need to increase funding to NHS mental health services for adults.'

Miss Girvan said she had to wait six months on the waiting list to receive help, adding: 'I was suicidal and I wasn't given immediate help. I had friends and family who helped me get through it but there are people who can't get through it on their own.'

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The 23-year-old charity worker is working with a group of volunteers to put the documentary together. They are hoping to raise £3,000 by May 2 with excess funds to be donated to mental health services.

The NSFT has been in crisis for at least five years and was rated inadequate by health inspectors for a third time in November - making it the worst-performing mental health trust in the country.

A report ahead of the trust's board meeting on March 28 revealed 82 patients from Norfolk and Suffolk were sent away to another county for treatment in January, despite promises by the NSFT to end this practice in 2014.

MORE: You're killing people: how I was carted out of county just for treatment

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Miss Girvan said: 'As a county with a large rural community, Norfolk is restricted by funds and geography in allowing adults to access mental health services. Myself and many individuals involved in the documentary have experienced these restrictions.'

A number of fundraising events have been planned to raise money for the documentary, including a sold-out pub quiz at Frank's Bar in Norwich on Tuesday, April 2 and a charity gig for the end of the kickstarter period.

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