- Feb 18, 2009
- Up North
Here is a letter I worked on with my advocates this afternoon, I wanted to type it in my own words so they left me to it:
Any comments or errors? before I email it to the advocates???The Manger of the mental health team.
I initially went to see my GP who I had not seen for well over 12 months in October 2008. I had not seen him prior to that for over twelve months whilst I was still attending The Red House psychotherapy service where I was in the 5 day a week therapeutic community. I struggled with the environment in the unit as I found it quite aggressive and angry which affected my mental health quite badly and I left after 4 months.
For a period of around 12 months afterwards I was very depressed, suicidal at times and rarely left the house unless absolutely necessary. I would just go out to the shops late at night and went weeks on end without talking to anybody face to face.
When I finely worked up the courage to go and see my GP again he referred me to the mental health team.
I had my first meeting with P on 5/12/08 at the mental health team’s offices. I talked quite a bit and I left feeling quite positive and an appointment was made for a home visit on or around the 18/12/08.
I was not feeling very good on the day of the visit (if I’m honest). Christmas time is never a good time for me. She brought another female with her, which was unexpected, and whilst I can appreciate with hindsight that this is done for safety reasons, a warning would have been helpful.
I might have come across as defensive and very short with them, as this was the first time I had let anybody over my doorstep in over 6 months. This was quite a short meeting and no empathy was shown to the fact that I was struggling with the fact I had visitors in my home after such a long gap. The female who came with my CPN just said I was good at talking after I explained how hard I found having them there and dealing with the build up to Christmas. An appointment was made for another home visit on 6/1/09.
The appointment for the 6th was cancelled on the 5th due to P being ill and I did not hear anything more. I rang several times only to be told, she was on a days leave or she was out the office and I was told she would ring me back, but she never did.
I rang again on 9/3/09 and was told again she was out the office but I insisted I wanted to talk to someone.
About 5 minutes later a female from the duty team rang me back and I explained my fears and that I was worried I might have been discharged due to the way I had been at the last visit. After looking at my details she assured me that I hadn’t and that I “appeared to have slipped through the cracks” and she also went onto say she sits at the next desk to P and would get her to ring me the following day. There was no call.
I tried again on the 17/3/09 and finely got through! I explained how unhappy and worried I was about not hearing from her and asked if it had been my fault because how I had been on the pervious visit? She explained that it wasn’t and that she had a large backlog due to the time she had taken off work and that she may need to go in for surgery and might have to go off work again. She then told me about a scheme which will offer me support and we would talk about this more when she next saw me. She went on to say how she thought talk therapies would not be much good to me. I was taken aback by this and disagreed with it. This then led her to say that we should be more interested in my being able to function better on a day to day basis and being able to get out the house more. I then felt I had no choice in this whilst it was never said, I felt this was the only option open to me. An appointment was made for 31/3/09.
At that appointment she came with a social worker called Pa (can’t remember the surname) There was no pleasantries or asking how I had been since the last visit.
The social worker talked a lot about my time in the therapeutic community and he asked me who had referred me and who funded it. He stated he had wanted to get a couple of people in there but couldn’t get funding for it.
I was then informed I would be moved onto Community Restart Scheme and P told me I would be getting discharged from her in the next 6 weeks, explaining that she felt she could still be coming to visit me in 5 years time and didn’t think it would do me any good.
The social worker also said I would be getting discharged from him when I was under the care of the Restart scheme. An appointment was made for 23/4/09.
In the days that followed that appointment I was left feeling very low, I didn’t like the way the social worker talked down to me, I felt an inch tall in my own front room and a bit stupid and also that I had also wasted everybody’s time in leaving the therapeutic community early around 18 months earlier and that I didn’t deserve anymore chances at getting any help.
At the meeting on the 23/04/09 the appointment was for 2pm. They turned up at 1.45 whilst I was eating at the time and I apologised and said I wasn’t expecting then to be early. They responded that they had an emergency at 2pm so they came early. Again there were no pleasantries or discussion on how I was. The social worker just seemed to want me on the back foot from the start. I sat there and took it for about 5 minutes. I think he was trying to get me to agree that I had a personality disorder? He was also talking to me like I had a really low IQ again.
I wasn’t feeling too bad that day and decided to try to stand up for myself a bit more. I let him know I wasn’t happy with the treatment I was getting from them and the fact they were making decisions and trying to push me into things when it was quite apparent they knew so little about me. His reply to that was along the lines of “that’s how things work these days”.
He asked me to “tell us if you think we are doing a bad job” I didn’t reply directly to this but I stated that I this was only the second time I had asked for professional help with my mental health issues since I was 18, and that I considered the fact that I was still here at all with the state I was in after I left The Red House a positive thing. However, I was not able to carry on as things were at the moment and that I couldn’t get myself out of it on my own. I also queried their views regarding the “no talk therapies” and they suggested a local charity Maundy Grange that does one on one counselling which could work along side the Restart scheme. The social worker rang them and an appointment was made for the following Saturday.
He commented on the fact I had got quite animated at one stage and my reply was along the lines “Well I felt I had to say something and that I wasn’t being listen to!”
I was told to ring the following week after I had been to the charity. No follow up appointment was made. I rang on the Monday to let them know how I had got on and the social worker rang me back on Wednesday morning and I informed him that I would be attending one on one counselling there, He informed me that he was leaving that Friday so wouldn’t be seeing me again and wished me luck.
I have not heard anything from the mental health team since so assuming I have been discharged?
This was my first dealings with the mental health team since the age of 18 and I genuinely hope this is not a reflection of the way people in general are treated by your organisation. Their lack of common courtesy made me feel like a 2nd class citizen.
I have found the whole experience of dealing with them very negative and damaging at times and it has caused me to question myself endlessly as to whether I was being too demanding or unreasonable in anyway.
I made it very clear about my struggles to get out the house and my problems with dealing with people directly and at a time when I was feeling vulnerable and fragile the best that could be offered was one on one counselling from a charity that was over 10 miles from my home.
I am feeling very up and down at the moment but I must say I am feeling better and more positive than I did 6 months ago but I am acutely aware of the fact I could slip back and could need further support from the mental health team but after my recent dealings with them I feel very nervous about that fact.
Please feel free to investigate and look into my mental health records to verify the facts. I would be interested to know if you think whether I have been treated in a decent manner?