"Mental health provision"
About: Mersey Care NHS Trust Mersey Care NHS Trust Liverpool L3 1DL Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust Liverpool L7 8XP
Posted by llbbhh (as ),
Last year (2014) I suffered what appeared to be a major depressive episode. It started with a serious self harm incident where I had to go to the Royal to be stitched up. The staff here were kind and efficient.
Following this, I consulted with my GP who advised a referral to what was at the time Inclusion Matters (now Talk Liverpool). Understandably, I had to wait some time to actually be seen and despite a recommendation from my GP for a course of CBT, after an initial assessment I was referred for counselling sessions.
The counselling sessions served as, at the counsellor's own admission, a 'risk management' exercise as I was in severe crisis and needed the support to prevent myself from continuing in suicidal/self harm behaviours. After less than 8 sessions I was finished and handed back to the care of my GP.
Unfortunately, my illness and behaviour worsened and I continued to self harm and make attempts on my life. The GP eventually referred me to be seen at Broad Oak unit for an initial assessment.
By this point, it was early 2015. I had been hospitalised after taking an overdose and had continued to self harm. I was seen by the crisis team at Broad Oak and was recommended a medication review, a referral to a recovery group and an appointment to see a psychologist.
The group, which I began attending in April 2015, was useful in its own way but covered things I had already been exposed to through counselling services and was still struggling to apply to my own thoughts and behaviour. I continued with all eight sessions and my behaviour did improve. I was seen by a psychologist who made no recommendations other than to continue attending the group. She observed a lot about my personality and behaviour but gave me no recommendations as to how to improve. After this, I was once again left on my own.
Whilst the service I received was no doubt helpful, it was at time contradictory and confusing. Not to mention the long waiting times. At times, I was left wondering exactly what I had to do to be taken seriously which only served to worsen my behaviour.
During my time at Broad Oak unit, I did receive a phone call from Talk Liverpool offering me further sessions when my group had finished. Whilst I can recall this in hindsight, at the time I must admit it had little impact on me and I didn't remember the conversation when I received a letter telling me that as I hadn't been in touch, Talk Liverpool had withdrawn their offer for intervention.
As a person experiencing crisis, this upset me and I was confused as I couldn't recall what I was supposed to have done. I appreciate that these services are busy but perhaps another phone call to follow up before dismissing me would have been beneficial.
Whilst things are better now, I have recently relapsed in a confusing manner and was hospitalised again last week (Nov 2015) for an overdose. The walk in centre and hospital stated they would inform my GP but I have still had to wait over a week for an appointment.
Whilst a confusing and patchy read, I hope my story highlights that the current provision for mental health crises are at times not effective. Long waiting times are necessary due to the volume of referrals and I understand this, but when in crisis it is hard to accept this and in many cases I'm sure the intervention comes when it's too late.
There needs to be more communication between services to create a better understanding of patients' needs. I do think that unless a patient presents in severe distress (I was once told that not much could be done unless I actually stated that I intended to kill myself) then it appears that you aren't taken seriously.
I was essentially told by a psychologist that I was indulging in attention seeking behaviours, but was offered no recommendations on how to address this and to be frank the consultation made my condition worse.
Sometimes a conversation is not enough. People in distress need help to address their issues, not just be told what they are and sent on their way.