When we met up with that stern private psychiatrist a few weeks before Christmas 2009, I'd written out a couple of pages of notes and questions.
These were the questions:
- What kind of therapy does he need and with whom?
- How long will it take / how many sessions?
- Obviously Ben’s well being is uppermost in our minds but because this is private, we need an idea of how much it may cost?
I thought a skilled specialist practitioner would be able simply examine him, diagnose him and say: "Hmn... I think we can do it in seven or eight weekly sessions", or whatever.
I really did.
How could I have known that, two full years on from then, we would STILL be seeing our treatment team. Thankfully, being the UK, the CAMHS treatment team is NHS-funded, so we don't have to pay.
We only had to pay for the private 'treatment' Ben received as a 'stop gap' while we were on the CAMHS waiting list.
Seeing as we only had £500 a year available from our medical insurance to cover mental health issues, I have no idea what we would have done without the free NHS treatment.
Over the past two years we've had a crippling recession to deal with - and Ben's dad was out of work.
CAMHS and I may not have always seen eye to eye over the months we've been with them, but I am eternally thankful this Christmas season that the treatment was free and unlimited.