"My mental health journey"

About: Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust / Inpatient mental health care Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Birmingham)

(as the patient),

I developed alopecia at the young age of ten, I have suffered from depression since the age of sixteen, I had a breakdown at twenty-nine, since then I have relapsed several times and ended up in hospital over a handful of times.

I was diagnosed with bpd, I experience psychosis when in crisis and also have both depression and anxiety. I have a CPN, but only see her twice monthly. I have a support worker once a week but that will terminate soon, probably within the next year. I am worried about loosing that regular support and believe that support helps me either stay out of or get through crisis and general day to day life. I often find it hard to find motivation and avoid anxiety and panic attacks to do the most basic of things, get showered, get dressed, going out and getting about. I hate being admitted to hospital. I get suicidal and have self harmed pretty bad in the past, last time ending up with sepsis.

I recently did a 22day stretch in hospital, mostly on a psychiatric ward. I gave up smoking way before my crisis, which was lucky as a smoking ban was put into action early May. I vape now and Oleaster hospital would not allow me to charge or use my vape in the garden. They only allowed e-cigarette’s. I found that rule nonsensical. We were allowed to charge both phones and tablets, even hair dryers and straighteners but not vapes! ? This made things incredibly difficult for me. Although I felt more sorry for the smokers on section, at least being an informal patient, I could go in and outside from 8am to 8pm. I am not sure why the ban has been set across the mental health sector. Hospital is stressful enough, having such vices taken away from you, against your own will, totally sucks!

During my short stay in the general QE hospital patient decisions unit, nurses were quite visibly taken a back when they discovered that I had come from a psychiatric unit and somewhat relieved to see that I had a psychiatric nurse with me at all times. One nurse asked me what depression is! She then asked me to explain bi-polar! I think it is worrying that nurses and doctors aren't trained in all areas (to some degree, a basic level of knowledge if not understanding) across the board. Several Doctors apologised for how my reasoning for such injuries were outside of their expertise.

I must applaud the nursing staff on the Edgbaston ward in the Old QE. They were all kind, caring, non judgemental and polite. All of the ladies were fantastic. Plus there was no smoking 🚭 ban across the general NHS hospital.

It is worth mentioning the stigma that seems to go hand in hand with people with BPD. A nurse even said, quote “People like you shouldn’t be here! ” To say that to any patient is unprofessional, such an opinion should not be shared or said out loud, especially directly to a patient. People with BPD tend to have low self esteem and a comment like that could have a detrimental effect. I did not book myself in, a team of doctors, psychiatric doctors and nurses warranted and encouraged my admission. On top of that, I had tried to commit suicide, self harmed extremely damagingly, had psychosis and was a great risk to myself, all extremely warranted reasons for admission on a psychiatric acute ward. Yet the tittle of BPD on my medical notes seemed to deter alot of the staff from reading further and they immediately disregarded my reasoning for being their. At least a quarter of the patients on the ward had BPD, for a small ward with only sixteen beds, they seemed to have alot of patients who, “were people like me, who shouldn't have been there! ” More training on empathy needs to be put in place, there are far to many negative preconceptions of people with BPD and it is most unhelpful!

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Responses

Response from Patient Experience Manager, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback about your recent experience when admitted to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. We are delighted to hear that you found the staff on Edgbaston Ward to be kind, caring and non-judgemental. However, we are very sorry to hear that other parts of your experience in our hospital were not so positive. We are keen to discuss this with you further to understand more about what we could have done differently. If you are happy to discuss this with us please make contact via the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS).

PALS can be contacted by phone 0121 371 4400, by email PALS@uhb.nhs.uk, via the hospital website www.uhb.nhs.uk/pals-form or in person by dropping in between 9am – 5pm (Mon-Fri) to the PALS office located near the Information Desk in the main entrance of the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.