"Mental health environment"
Posted by PatientZero (as ),
I have previously been resident in Tayside so have some (mainly positive) experiences of the mental health services there and also with Carseview as a physical place. No mental health department/building is ever exactly 'glamorous' but Carseview is at least neutral, clean and non-threatening.
Unfortunately during a recent episode of worsened mental health my GP asked me to go for an urgent assessment, entirely reasonable in the circumstances. However, due to 'administration' I had to then travel to Ravenscraig Ward, around 20 miles away, rather than being able to go to any of the Tayside services (a couple of miles away). This was frustrating but I guess thats just how it works.
I was quite shocked though by my experience in Fife, relative to Tayside. Bearing in mind I was in a pretty unhappy state at the time, this was not at all helped by my visit to Ravenscraig. It was hectic, dingy, messy and in a poor state of decor/upkeep. Staff were clearly harassed and there was also no clear reception area, we had to wander around the corridors sticking our heads in offices until we were noticed by someone (some of the offices being empty and unsupervised - hello, security and data protection? ). We then waited in the 'waiting area' - an area that is poorly lit and shabby, pretty intimidating/scary when you're unwell, before I went in for my assessment.
This may be the 'best' part - the department was so busy/short on space that I was assessed in a storage room. Sat on a lounge chair that had clearly been put away for repair, surrounded by stacks of chairs and boxes. The member of staff who assessed me was perfectly fine and did their job well enough but the environment was just awful. When you're in psychological distress and scared of the prospect of being admitted anyway, encountering a physical space like that was just awful. I'd have said pretty much anything if it would've let me leave again and not stay there.
My boyfriend stayed outside the building while I was assessed, as it was too 'grim' for him to bear (as a perfectly healthy and stable person). I made it through my assessment and we left to go about our rather long trip home again.
I realise that funding is tight for the NHS and especially mental health services (which is terrible but thats another story altogether) but a few basic things could make a whole lot of difference, some decent or upkept lighting, better signage or a 'reception', and an assessment room rather than a storage cupboard. Surely not so hard?