"No support in the community"

About: Community mental health / Southampton Central

(as a service user),

I have been suffering with depression for over 18 months and am under the care of the mental health team. I have not been able to work effectively with the teams in the past, mainly due to my inability to find the help that I felt I needed. I find the Samaritans much more beneficial as they are non- judgemental and are excellent listeners. I am fortunate in having an excellent support worker who refuses to give up on me and continues to be my stability and continuity in my recovery. Recently I have had an exacerbation of my severe depression, this is in part due to me altering my medications as I am having severe side effects and had developed a severe illness requiring frequent trips to A&E for acute treatment.

Having eliminated this as the main cause I, then with consultants advice due to my low mood and suicidal ideation, began to titrate my medication back up. Over the weekend I experienced some problems and as I was in a desperate situation I rang the mental health teams, in accordance with advice given when I was discharged from hospital and by my support worker.

The first person I spoke to, did not seem interested in my predicament advising me that they were a therapist only and not a psychiatrist or Doctor. This was the same response I got from the other team I rang. At this point I would like to say that both teams were in the same office (of which I had no previous knowledge) but when my name was mentioned the other team heard and proceeded to advise the person on the phone of this and what they had said and I was able to hear everything that was said about me. Eavesdropping is never a good move especially when it is focused on yourself.

This behaviour and support only went to reinforce my belief that there really was no support in the community.

Had I found myself in the place of the mental health supporter, I would like to think that there are certain measures that I would have taken to support the service user, such as:

1) Advise service user that you didn't know the solution to the problem, but that you would try and find out as much as you could. Recognise it was a weekend and some services may be more difficult or unavailable to contact.

2) Arrange a reasonable time to ring back and give an update.

3) try and contact the on call psychiatric Doctor and ask for their opinion.

4) find a nurse who knows and understands the use of these medications i.e. bleep holder

These simple steps are enough to give most individuals confidence in the service provided, and trust and belief that they really are there to support you.

As a health professional is this not part of CPD? Any knowledge they gain may help in future similar situations.

Ultimately I had to contact the out of hours team (111) who then sent out a GP to visit who was extremely helpful and supportive and managed to prevent an unnecessary visit to A&E.

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Responses

Response from Complaints and PALS Officer, Complaints and PALS, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

The Trust is extremely sorry to learn about your concerns over the weekend with the mental health service.

Thank you for taking the time to post your valuable feedback and we would welcome the opportunity to discuss your experience with you as well as help you with your care.

Please may I ask that you call our main Complaints and PALS office on 02380 874065 or e-mail: hp-tr.complaints@nhs.net

Please be assured that this feedback has been passed on to the team concerned and a senior manager.

Kind regards

Complaints and PALS

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