• Michelle Partington

We can’t help you – D.I.Y

Two days ago it was announced the government would be investing £128m in mental health services. The next piece of news identified the government are making cuts to mental health nursing? Contradiction me thinks!!!

As an individual trying to live with a mental health illness where even just the other day it took a lot of prep for me to be able to go out to B and Q. I had been wanting to go for days but I just never made it. However I had to go if I needed to finish some DIY I psyched myself up, went as early as possible and walked around with headphones in. Sufferring this sort of anxiety completely hinders my life. Tomorrow will be the first time I will have the opportunity of a session with a mental health nurse since May. Cutting jobs in the mental health arena whilst investing lots of money into the ‘service’ really makes sense doesn’t it?! I wonder where the money is going? Infrastructure no doubt!! No point having a lovely building with amazing facilities if you cannot provide the staff and care which goes with it! Especially as there is a massive shortfall in treatment and huge waiting list for support. Yet 1 in 4 suffer from many forms of mental health illnesses. I’m not sure what the government intend to change with the extra influx of cash if they will not have the nurses available to assist. More and more we are becoming more reliant on generous people and self funded groups/charities such as SSAFA and the Veterans Council who sourced my community psychiatric nurse.

The state of mental health services in this country is appalling with politicians only interested when an election is looming. It’s interesting that Nick Clegg decides to have a half hour online Q and A sessions on Facebook yet questions posed remained unanswered. I still remember his ‘promises’ during the previous election and indeed reverted to type and has gone against everything!

Having someone to talk to is great but just sometimes it isn’t enough. It is professional help that is required by a qualified clinician in the subject. When I worked on the ambulances we had been constantly called to people trying to committ suicide or to someone who needed sectioning. I noticed that actually no one agency really took responsibility. The police would sometimes take them away because ‘they were causing a nuisance’. We would receive a call and one of the guys on shift would say ‘oh no it’s her/him again ‘one of our regulars, I’m glad you got the call’. They would then proceed to have a conversation and a laugh about previous call – outs which I thought was very sad.

We would take people to hospital because due to having taken an overdose and certain individuals would roll their eyes and say ‘not again’ then speak to them as if they were wasting precious time!! They would then be discharged at ridiculous times somtimes without any way of getting home. Why are they being discharged from the hospital when they know full well that they will be back. Surely it will be more cost effective to provide the right care to begin with. The way these patients used to be treated by certain ‘clinicians’ saddened me. What angers me more is that they should not be at the stage where they are making repeated attempts at ending their life. Care should have been provided to them well before now instead of being dismissed as a lost cause and a drain on the NHS emergency department which is how it was perceived. Services designed to prevent mental health deteriorating should be easily available to try to stop most people crisis point before people stand up and take notice! Community support does exist in certain regions but even then it is not on a long-term basis; and mostly provided by volunteers.

I was watching the news yesterday and a girl called Lauren committed suicide by jumping off the top of the Arndale Shopping Centre car park. She was only 16 but she was battling with anxiety disorder. She had been sectioned at some point but then let out let out again. Where was the follow-up care for this young lady?

What also angers me is the lack of continuity in treatment. I have mentioned this in a previous post about myself and 3 other colleagues all being treated differently for the same illness. How can that be? I have also taken note that within the NHS a lot is dependant on your postcode, this should not be the case. Everyone is entitled to the same basic level of care regardless of class or status.

On Coronation Street (yes I watch it) Steve has been struggling and saw a GP. He asked the GP if he was ill and she she stated it a mental health ‘issue’. It is not an ‘issue’ as she called it, it’s an illness. Steve did not feel he could open up to anyone and lost his wife due to this. Yes I know it’s a soap but this is happening in real life peeps and people are losing their loved ones because of it. Stigma plays a massive part in this but also individuals being too ashamed. It’s a vicious circle which is not helped by comments made by Cheryl Cole on x-factor choosing to put her dancers in straight jackets for the song ‘crazy’!! Or supermarkets selling mental patient fancy dress outfits! It needs to stop and mental health needs to be taken as seriously as any physical illness, end of!!


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