"I was an inpatient for 14 months on Swale Ward."

My admission to the Humber Centre was the first time I had been dealt with by the NHS Mental Health Services since I was 10 years old (I was 39/40 when I was there) and the first time as an inpatient. The ward I was on, Swale ward, was for the assessment and treatment of Personality Disorders. The staff that were part of our individual care teams, were very approachable and emphatic most of the time, but at times could be slightly condescending and patronising. The way I coped with these times, is to accept that everyone is entitled to an off day and the environment that they worked in could sometimes be volatile or unpredictable, due to the nature of the service users and the complexities that accompanied them. The environment of the ward itself was very clean, well laid-out, gave a sense of not only being secure, but feeling secure whilst there. The individual bedrooms were of a very good standard, quality and size, incorporating en-suite wet-rooms which helped to re-enforce the levels of dignity and well-being. There was always a selection of activities, both on-ward and off-ward, ensuring that there was always something to suit most people, but these were inconsistent due to staff shortages or the use of bank-staff. The main down-side, was the poor or lack of record-keeping from MDT's, CPA's, Grist reports, HCR20's etc. The excuse that Swale was a new ward was often banded about (even 2 years after opening), as well as quite a big turnover of staff, especially for the short time it had been open. In my opinion, the excuse of the ward being new was not a reasonable excuse for the shortfalls. All of the Ward managers and senior nurses had worked in this environment previously and paperwork and compiling reports should be second nature to them. On the whole, my experience at the Humber Centre was a positive one. It was the first time in 30 years, that someone had attempted to diagnose my condition. This led to my receiving the correct medication to help control my multiple personality disorders. I also received regular weekly therapy sessions from Leeds mental health services. This was a huge benefit in my being able to understand myself; being able to reflect in old, present and future me. I know their services were expensive, but they were invaluable to me. There is a huge need for units like the Humber Centre throughout the UK. There are far too many people with mental health issues being left to fester in prisons, only to be released into the same world they left, with the same mental health issues that got them there in the first place, who are then stigmatised for re-offending and returning to prison for another cycle of the same lacking and unsuitable judicial system.

Story from NHS Choices

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