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What to do if you meet someone in the community with obvious MH problems?

(13 Posts)
WeAreSeven Tue 20-Aug-13 21:43:26

I have just seen a thread on another forum which ran along the lines of "Why do I always attract the loonies?" and other people piling in and sympathising hmm

Basically this person on holiday, met someone who was obviously not mentally well, clearly delusional and behaving innappropriately. As they were on a campsite their reaction was to up sticks and camp elsewhere. They then went on to note that other people also moved away from this person and that they were all relieved when the person left.

I just though it was so sad and that it was upsetting that people thought it was OK to laugh at this man. But then, I wondered, what would I have done? I obviously wouldn't have laughed. He didn't seem dangerous from the OP but just in another world. Is there someone who should have been called to help this man? An emergency psych team? Would anyone actually come to help?

yellowballoons Tue 20-Aug-13 21:48:44

I think I would tell reception at the site.

WeAreSeven Tue 20-Aug-13 21:56:46

But would they know who to call? Or supposing it was someone you met on the street or in a shop? It sounded to me as if this poor chap should probably have been in hospital.

MaryMotherOfCheeses Tue 20-Aug-13 22:00:59

If he's not dangerous or a danger to himself, I'm not sure why you would contact anybody.

Emergency psych teams only help in crisis.

Why do you say he should have been in hospital?

WeAreSeven Tue 20-Aug-13 22:18:42

Now, Mary, I wasn't there, this was a post on another forum but he seemed to be very delusional, talking of government/aliens out to get him, coming into other peoples tents.
Possibly, I thought, someone who should be taking medication but has no insight into the fact that they are actually ill.
I know people who were this ill but they had family to care for them and persuade them to get help. This man was on his own.

yellowballoons Tue 20-Aug-13 22:18:43

Are you asking for a particular reason WeAreSeven?

Didnt see the thread you are talking about.

I think it may be a good idea for you to read some of the threads onthe MN mental health board.
If people go in hospital, they dont always stay there for very long.

WeAreSeven Tue 20-Aug-13 22:24:34

I never said he should have to stay there for long! I am not suggesting that this man should be locked up indefinitely but he sounded ill and stressed and all anyone was doing was moving away and laughing. This is not a thread on MN, it's a totally different forum. I would expect better from people on MN, for the most part!
I am only wondering what should someone do in a situation like that? If it were a friend or a family member I would be fairly aware of the correct channels, GP etc.
Should you really just do nothing if someone is as ill as that?

TheFarSide Tue 20-Aug-13 22:28:08

OP you are right that many of us don't know how to engage with people who have obvious MH issues. Some of their behaviour can appear alarming but as someone has noted they are not necessarily dangerous. Perhaps we should make more of an effort to engage with people who are behaving a bit oddly rather than avoiding them.

I started working with people with learning disabilities a couple of years ago and regular contact with people I wouldn't normally associate with in my everyday life has helped me feel more comfortable in their presence.

MaryMotherOfCheeses Tue 20-Aug-13 22:31:27

Could have been my brother...

Sounds like he may need meds but it's incredibly difficult to get people in that situation to take them. Also, it's very difficult to get people the treatment that they need unless they're a danger to themselves / others. Sometimes even if they're a danger to themselves / others.

Also, just because he's camping on his own doesn't mean there aren't people looking out for him.

You're right though, people shouldn't be laughing at him and it's nice of you to express concern enough to want to phone someone.

I think I'd have mentioned it to reception staff on the basis of it helps if they know if someone is ill on site. If there was a danger, I guess you / they could phone the police.

I don't know what else you could do.

Ledkr Tue 20-Aug-13 22:34:34

I normally get a bit involved because I used to me a mh nurse.
It's often hard to differentiate between mental illness and eccentrics.

WeAreSeven Tue 20-Aug-13 22:35:03

I felt that it didn't sound like he was dangerous. But if it were say, a friend or a brother I would be concerned by the things he was saying and would be urging him to seek medical help.

WeAreSeven Tue 20-Aug-13 22:40:30

Ledkr, maybe he did just come under the eccentric heading. And I know people don't always take their meds when they should. It just sounded like such a sad situation and yet people were laughing about it.

working9while5 Wed 21-Aug-13 08:57:47

It's hard. My cousin has schizoaffective disorder and has been having a rough time recently... at 30 he has recently started to be more of a danger to himself and others than previously and has been sectioned following reports from members of the public of strange and erratic behaviour. It is hard. He's been evicted from his flat because of neighbour complaints... but going into hospital does sweet FA for him. He's not compliant with meds and has no intention of being so, and I understand why.... they zombify him. Yet he has been ill for the bones of 15 years and has very limited functional skills in terms of life, few relationships, no occupation or prospect of one. The reality for people with longterm serious and severe mental illness is often that there is no easy happy ending whether people walk away, intervene, gossip or are understanding, do something or do nothing.

I love my cousin. I believe at heart he is a very good young man and decent... but I don't want to be around him or have my children around him when he is seriously unwell. I still love and respect him and have the most immense empathy for him having had significant depression and OCD with imagery that is our genetic heritage... but he can be dangerous and he has been dangerous, attacking his brother and my aunt and threatening my 80 year old granny. It's a total tragedy watching this vile illness take him over and there but for the grace of God anyone goes at any time. It doesn't mean though that being afraid is always bigoted and unfeeling and worthy of hmm reactions.

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