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Re Mental Health on the NHS

(18 Posts)
IForgotWhoIAm Sun 14-Aug-16 07:09:48

It's been a while since I've dealt with this one personally, but there's so many horror stories about how self harm, suicide and similar things are handled by NHS staff.

I had a suicide attempt a couple of years ago and whilst most of the staff were pretty good or behaved appropriately, I did have one doctor who took me into a quiet room the day after my attempt, closed the door, and told me how to "do it properly" next time. He gave me three practically fool-proof methods of suicide that would guarantee the NHS "didn't have to deal with me again." Prior to that it had taken me 2 years of GP visits to get any kind of treatment - I needed talking therapy and ended up with 2 years of referrals and no one picking up my case, and ended up going private (and getting a lot better almost instantly).

Then last week I was in A&E with DD (she's fine :-) ) and saw a girl of about 16, absolutely no older than 18. There with her mum/older sister. She had cut arms from either self injury or a suicide attempt and loads of scars from previous self harm, and was crying the whole 2 hours I was there. She was eventually treated - in a private room just off of the ER, with the door wide open in full view of all of us, and the nurse/doctor/whoever she was chastising the girl the whole time. It was pretty obvious she wasn't given anything for the pain or any anaesthetic, even when they started stitching her up.

I reported it, as did several other people, and the first response we got from the triage nurse was "what do you expect? She did it to herself." The complaint eventually went a lot further because of the obvious data protection violations (open door and all of her details and case being discussed loudly where people could obviously see/hear) but IDK if anything was done about the conduct.

AIBU thinking this is absolutely, absolutely disgusting behaviour from medical staff? And has anyone else ever had this sort of treatment or are these just a couple of isolated and unfortunate incidents?

Mishegoss Sun 14-Aug-16 07:15:38

Sadly I'm not surprised to read this.
I've had:
"You didn't think that would kill you did you?"
"What a waste of time all this attention seeking is."
And
"What do you want us to do for you?"

I was 13, 18 and 20 respectively when those things were said to me. It utterly broke me and now at need 26 I finally have a diagnosis and am getting the specialised counselling I have needed for so long. Luckily for I have support from my family and I have been able to keep going. If I hadn't I think I would've felt so desperate and helpless that I would successfully ended my life. The mental health services in this country are embarrassing. I could go on and share my experiences of being in our local psychiatric ward but it's completely depressing.

flanjabelle Sun 14-Aug-16 07:20:47

Yes it is disgusting and it isn't uncommon either.

The mental health care in my area is very hit and miss. My dp is currently in a psychiatric assessment unit as he is psychotic along with other issues. He was admitted Thursday, and he has not even seen a mental health doctor yet and will not be seeing one until at least tomorrow. He has just been left to it really. You wouldnt get that in a medical hospital would you? They are also not giving him one of his medications as the medical doctor who admitted him did not write it down and apparently they cannot get it put on his chart.

He has been repeatedly let down by the system, leading him to a psychotic breakdown where he tried to throw himself off a bridge. I'm angry and disappointed.

After his last admission they discharged him, still with psychosis and suicidal plans. Plans, not ideation, plans. And put little to no care in place in the community. I have been dealing with it alone.

flanjabelle Sun 14-Aug-16 07:22:40

Oh and the nurses don't actually talk to the patients. They just sit there watching TV. He has been spoken to twice since he arrived and that was to tell him he wasn't seeing the doctor.

OldFarticus Sun 14-Aug-16 07:27:58

NBU at all. Many of the NHS's problems are down to lack of funding, but - conspicuously - not all of them. MH may be the poor relation when it comes to funding, but compassion and care costs nothing.

I was told "you need to be admitted, but the conditions on the psychiatric ward will likely make you even worse". Great. What a sad indictment of our health service.

Cinnamon2013 Sun 14-Aug-16 07:40:52

I appreciate that some of these issues are down to very poor care and lack of understanding. The examples here are shocking. But lack of funding is a major factor. At the moment the Conservatives have drained mental health of funds to the extent that doctors unqualified in the field are informally having to help out/muck in. It's totally inappropriate in such a sensitive and specialist area of care. The government are breaking down Nhs mental health care at an alarming rate.

stopfuckingshoutingatme Sun 14-Aug-16 07:47:03

Yanbu - when I tried I was treated kindly but nothing afterwards - no therapy and no follow up . No anti D .

I am really wincing at what that doctor said op flowers you deserved better

Pemba Sun 14-Aug-16 08:03:34

That's vile OP. That bastard of a doctor should be struck off - actually telling you how to 'do it properly' FGS! Did you think of putting in a complaint at the time? Do you know his name?

Very few people who attempt suicide are doing it 'for attention'. They must be in mental agony. I know NHS are overworked, but how about more empathy and less judginess. What if it were a member of their family? How fucking unprofessional.

I am glad you are feeling better OP flowers. Wishing you happiness.

marshamella Sun 14-Aug-16 08:05:32

Mishegoss that is awful how you were spoken to flowershope you get some proper advice soon! It's just a shambles how people with mh are treated. A close family member of mine had a very bad psychotic episode and was just arrested and locked in a police cell, they had not committed any crime but apparently that was the safest place with them. Yeah right angry

bearleftmonkeyright Sun 14-Aug-16 08:16:14

Thank you for writing this as I am utterly shocked and angry at the experience you suffered and of the treatment of the girl in a and e that you witnessed. I agree that this is directly linked to government cuts and a systematic breakdown of the NHS.

TestingTestingWonTooFree Sun 14-Aug-16 08:20:38

OP I think you should go to the GMC about that doctor.

In my experience NHS mh care and treatment isn't always that bad but with limited resources it is stretched and clearly patchy. Doesn't excuse such appalling attitudes from staff.

AnxiousMunchkin Sun 14-Aug-16 08:25:14

To give a story of a more positive experience of NHS care.

I was being waiting to be admitted in A&E following what was, for me, a serious suicide attempt. I was only there because a housemate found me, I'd no intention of seeking medical help myself. However the combination of things that I'd taken didn't do much apart from make me sleep a lot and mess with my blood pressure a bit, it certainly wasn't going to finish me off as I'd hoped. When this was made clear to me, I felt so embarrassed and guilty and said this to the nurse that I was wasting their time and had done this to myself. She came and sat next to me and held my hand, and said no, the illness did this, not you. And then she pointed to each other patient in turn in the bay I was in - in a low voice and was probably making it all up - but basically said that almost everyone was here because they 'did it to themselves' - they drank/smoke/ate too much, didn't take their medications, did risky things etc. So I was not to feel guilty or be ashamed of having a mental health problem any more than I'd be embarrassed about having any other health problem. It made me feel a little better in the moment anyway. I remember resolving to try and get better and not let it beat me.

kilmuir Sun 14-Aug-16 08:31:25

Lack of funding is not responsible for the horrendous way that vile Dr treated you. Do they really need to be taught compassion? He needs reporting and struck off.

whatishistory Sun 14-Aug-16 09:27:16

Yes, much of the care is terrible. Most people who haven't had any involvement with psychiatric care haven't got a clue. People are dying every day because MH services are so stretched. They can patch people up in crisis, but can't provide ongoing support.

There needs to be a lot more money spent on training across the NHS.

On the positive side, 90% of the MH professionals that I've come into contact with have either been good or bloody amazing. I'm rapid cycling bipolar and have 2-3 admissions a year so I've seen a lot. My CPN is fantastic--nothing is too much trouble, she knows me inside out and can tell when I'm in trouble. In turn, I trust her and can listen when she tells me I need hospital. She's pretty much saved my life a couple of times by. This kind of therapeutic relationship is unusual, given how stretched CMHT are. I am lucky to be in an area where MH services are still relatively good.

I think that many people who work within MH services are just exhausted and frustrated by working in such awful conditions--they're burnt out. Unfortunately, it's the people who need their help thst pay the price.

As for psychiatric wards--mine has single, en-suite rooms, which is OK. However, staff barely ever speak to you. Those people who do manage to catch someone to say they need help get lorazepam thrown at them. There's virtually no activities for patients. They just sit in front of the TV all day, or chain smoke. Psych hospitals are just holding pens to stop people killing themselves. There's nothing remotely therapeutic about them.

lljkk Sun 14-Aug-16 09:31:41

No pain relief while being stitched up ??

Mishegoss Sun 14-Aug-16 09:34:46

Your CPN sounds amazing whatishistory We need more like that smile
I've had 3 different CPN's in the last 18 months. One was awful so I was glad to see her leave, the other two seemed to be driven out by the stresses of the job. It's such a frustrating system for patients and the staff.
Thank you marshamella I try not to stay angry about my past experiences, it's done now, but it certainly makes me concerned for other people. I feel that the professionals who are cruel fail to see that they're directly impacting on someone's hope and will to live. It's dangerous. Just as dangerous as if someone needed life saving medical intervention and you refused to give it, in my opinion.

LewisAndClark Sun 14-Aug-16 09:34:48

My experience has been mainly positive. I've been hospitalised after overdoses six times in the past year. I've never been treated with anything but kindness.

However after my first go-round with the crisis team I was left with no intervention for six weeks and ended up back in hospital.

I now have a cpn that I see weekly, weekly therapy in a group and see my psychiatrist every three months for med reviews. I think there is a bit of a postcode lottery at play.

You should definitely think about reporting the doctor who told you about suicide methods. That's really shocked me.

whatishistory Sun 14-Aug-16 09:46:53

mishe, yes, she's brilliant. I've had a couple of crap CPNs before her--it's pot luck. A good CPN can make such a massive difference to someone's life. I always think that it must be one heck of a demanding job--physically and mentally.

I've seen a few idiots over the last few years--especially a psychiatrist who told me that he'd chose me as his "project" to make me well again.

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