PALS Telephone and Contact Details

nickh

nickh

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#1
PALS is now a 24-hours a day service so anyone with a Mental Health issue should be able to contact them at any time.

The telephone number is 0800 953 0045 - this is free from landlines and they will call you back if you are on a mobile.

The text number is 07985 883 509

email pals@bsmhft.nhs.uk

If anyone has any problems using these (or indeed good experiences!) please let me know as I would be very interested.

I will make this thread a sticky.

Nick.
 
Z

zamanmsnuk

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#2
pals is also run by service user volunteers somtimes doing the late shift
 
nickh

nickh

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#3
Thanks zaman - this is one way of volunteering though I imagine you would have to be feeling pretty together to take it on. But you could be a big help.

Nick.
 
Z

zamanmsnuk

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#4
i agree about it might increase their illness . i raised that concern at the lessons learned/shared meeting. but they replied . staff will be there to help.
one of the good things is that if there is someone in crisis. pals can email information to the service users treament centre to take action.
 
nickh

nickh

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#5
Yes I didn't mean that it wasn't a great thing to do if you felt up to it just that it was a big responsibility :). And great that you raised it at Lessons Shared!

Nick.
 
I

ipropupthisgravytrain

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#6
Yesterday, because I feel so frustrated and miserable and desperate and damaged by my experiences within mental health, I phoned PALS. (salaries paid of course by bsmhft, so not neutral of course).

I haven't had any contact with them for many months.

I spoke to a person called C. there. Her immediate response to me, a patient, on the telephone was a curt one. I have had no dealings with her ever before, know nothing whatsoever about her.

I was very polite at that point. Through my own skill at relating, I managed to keeps things positive and we had a reasonable discussion. Not, I stress because of her skills or real efforts.

Later last night at around 11 PM, I was very distressed and disturbed again because of my situation regarding the effects of my treatment and I phoned PALS again. The person who answered I understand was someone called J. I explained my situation and that I was desperate to find a way forward. The tale takes a long time to tell as you know. After about 10 mins, the phone line went dead.

I phoned back. The phone was answered by a person called T. I have talked to T before months and months ago, when I was still seeing M.P. my therapist. I asked if he knew why I had been cut off. He simply said that that sometimes happens.He said that the person, J. had another call. I said I thought this was odd, since I had phoned back immediately -within a second or two - and I said, well I had had to make a lot of effort to tell my story, and please, rather than me start all over again with him, could he ask her to ring me back after she had finished her call so that we could continue?
He then said, she had just left. Odd I thought. I said so.
Now T. is a fairly okay sort of PALS person, although clearly rather partisan in his comments. Since the Trust pays these people their salaries, that is likely to happen isn't it? Not a good arrangement really.. But anyway, my conversation with T, though a degree of disagreement and not really much help last night, was civil. But still, disappointing really, that once again no one seems able to see this whole thing from my point of view.

This morning I phoned to ask for the phone number for complaints -about PALS actually this time. C. answered, very curtly with a very unpleasant and unhelpful tone: "YES, WHAT DO YOU WANT?" (enough to put anyone off, let alone someone with my level of distress this weekend), I said, "What's the matter? Why are you speaking to me like this?"
She immediately passed the phone over to a S. No, seriously, S’s response then was again in an unpleasant tone: "CAN I HELP YOU?" if you can imagine it... I replied "Why are you speaking to me in that tone? What's the matter?"
She replied "There is nothing the matter".

By this point, even Cool ,Calm and collected ‘Ipropupthisgravytrains’ get upset and angry. This is after all, a service for the Bsmhft, and patients are generally vulnerable and often volatile, disturbed people, so, what is the Trust doing employing people who speak to hurt and damaged individuals in this manner who are going through as much trauma at this time in my life as I am?

We got cut off.
 
E

Ehryn

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#8
As someone who has once worked in PALS (not this one, the one for a specific hospital) and whose mental health problems started as a result of the job... I would like to say on behalf of them that it is a HELLISH and THANKLESS position :(

That said, there is absolutely no excuse for those staff members to speak to you that way. I have had similar experiences with NHS Direct staff, so I completely sympathise. I would strongly suggest you write in a formal letter of complaint to their complaints department giving them the full details of your call. It's not right for people working on a mental health helpdesk to have such poor attitudes towards their jobs. It doesn't matter how tired you are or how fed up or how horrible the last person was (I can say with hand on heart that I was physically threatened on more than one occasion and verbally abused almost daily so I know what it's like to deal with the worst of the worst!) you can NEVER EVER EVER let those people's behaviour affect your own. If they're incapable of that they should be reassigned to a less compassionate position.

However, I would also say that it isn't fair to say anything about their lack of impartiality because of who pays their wages. I was frequently accused of being biased because of the NHS Trust paying my salary (a paltry sum, I might add, that was less even than the drudges in the complaints office who don't even have to take calls) whether I was agreeing with them or not. In the end most staff - particularly in a job such as PALS - are acutely aware of the problems within their Trust but are utterly powerless to change anything and can only parrot what they're told to say. It's extremely frustrating, though no excuse for bad attitude of course.

If you want the NHS Complaints Procedure guidelines please feel free to drop me a PM and I can provide them. Old habits die hard, and I would love to see these lot hauled before a disciplinary committee for their despicable behaviour.
 
Q

Questor

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#9
Ehryn, what a balanced contribution #8 is! Although I have never been employed in the care business, I have met many who have and can believe your often “HELLISH and THANKLESS position”. Years ago I was involved in a user representation project and was often embarassed by rights-demanding attitudes of fellow patients. It is so easy to expect help from a “service”. Yet it is so difficult to provide anything which actually helps – especially for some people/conditions.

Previously, I had been involved in self help, not through books which seem to promise everything for nothing, but through groups of fellow sufferers who can share experiences from the inside, and who can come to “know” their own cases better than anyone else. There, you don’t go asking for help (who could give that, anyway?) but it’s more a case of seeking internal strengths in a mutually supportive atmosphere. That is where you can find emotional support from others who understand. There are no medics (very raraly, there are, but they keep quiet about that because they are there for their depression or whatever), these are birds of a feather who can explore together the many avenues of recovery. There you can see people who are experiencing post-trauma growth, too – not all of them, but some, which is encouraging.

I’m new here but isn’t much of that true for Forums, too? Between them, many contributors brings many ideas and different “slants”, many (like, often) sufferers brings insight, even a folk wisdom. And we can be frank in letting down our emotional hair safely (provided others are searching, too, and not into scoring points).

Sadly, some posts are tinted with anger and frustration. That is understandable when there seems to be no help for some distressing and intractable condition. And how many of us experience that? It is salutory that Ehryn “was physically threatened on more than one occasion and verbally abused almost daily!”. I’m sure I’ve seen posts that carry hints of that sort of agression. It is hard to give a constructive response to ssomene in that mind-set.

So I hope your contribution presents the other side, encouraging a gentler and more give-and-take exchange, and with less strident advice than some I have read. I believe it’s not advice that’s wanted (who takes advice, anyway?) but insight and a new angle for personal growth. A big ask, but possible with sufficient constructive exchange, perhaps.

Questor.