So, I suddenly realised that I know a lot of crazy people, and I don’t mean “oh, she’s crazy” I mean “we the jury, find the defendant.” With this in mind, I have decided to do a post that people will probably get angry with.
The state of mental health care.
Don’t like it? Tough, don’t read it. But only if you don’t care that mental health care in this country (UK, I can’t honestly speak on other countries) is appalling. And involves ignoring those suffering until it’s too late, and they’re in an unchangeable situation.
I have spoken to two people I know who are affected with the mental health act, one, Person 1 has mental health issues, the other, Person 2 works as a carer for those with mental health issues.
I have asked their express permission to use their situations in this blog, I won’t be revealing their names, ages, genders or locations, so don’t ask. Mainly due to the need for privacy, but also to avoid trouble with the Mental Health Board.
I will explain.
According to the mental health act, it is really not done, verging on illegal, to discuss another patients problems, this includes between doctors, as you can imagine, this makes getting a second opinion rather difficult. This means asking for the correct help is left entirely on the doorstep of the one suffering the problems. Now imagine that the little voices tell you you’re fine, and someone else tells you that that’s normal, now, are you really going to ask some random, who’s paid to listen, not care, for help?
You have to remember that there are loads, I mean millions, of different types of mental health problems. And not all of them are socially seen as ‘mental illness’. Depression, for example, is becoming more recognised as a mental illness, albeit an, occasionally, temporary one. But depression is one of those harder to spot and fix, it’s easy to dose someone to the gills on ‘happy pills’, it’s so much harder to actually pinpoint the reason, or give the proper cure for each person. Here you go, have an easy way to learn, without even looking.
You see, if I line a hundred people with the same disorder up in front of you, you would be hard pressed to know they all had the same condition. Every person has different reactions to different situations, mental disorders included.
Again, different disorders, different treatment. And some disorders are easy to spot, Tourettes, for example. It’s easy to spot someone shouting and twitching their way round a room. Someone who truly believes they’re being watched by a duck is harder.
But to make life easier, here, have some information about Tourettes.
There, now you don’t even have to look for it. Doesn’t that make life easier? And wouldn’t it be nice if we could make life easier for those suffering from mental health problems? Some statistics for you; •450 million people are affected by mental disorders everyday.
•Mental disorders can cause social isolation, poor quality of life and increased mortality.
•873,000 people kill themselves every year
(Information provided by World Health Organisation (WHO))
Person 2, who didn’t want to talk much, but offered small pieces of advice told me of the expert buddy system. This system employs people suffering from various disorders to help this recently diagnosed, as they’re in the best position to understand what appears random, and in fact, crazy, to the uneducated. Person 2 doesn’t believe in medication.
Following is an interview with person 1 that I have been given express permission to use. Person 1 has other issues besides those mentioned, but are better controlled and managed, such as memory issues, a form of agoraphobia and social disorders, these have been witnesses at various times.
Me: What mental issues do you suffer with?
Person 1: I have borderline personality disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) brought from childhood and recurrent Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
Me: Were you diagnosed early?
P1: Nope! I was in my mid-twenties by the time I was diagnosed, by which time my behaviour patterns and reactions to situations were so ingrained, I couldn’t change them.
Me: How do these problems affect you day to day?
P1: In a way, they don’t, but by the same token, they do. I have the same limitations and boundaries I give myself as other do as well, it’s just that mine are made for different reasons!Me: What kinds of things should someone look for, who needs help, or is interested in educating themselves?
P1: Charities want to help, ask them, there’s very few, or no, adverts for charities that deal with specific problems. But there are groups that deal with different issues, speak to Mind
(http://www.mind.org.uk/) they have a directory for every disorder clinic.
There’s a new group in Royal Tunbridge Wells, that helps people who’s children have disorders, people forget that the families of sufferers are affected as well. There’s groups for whole families affected by mental health disorders. I referred myself, I went to the doctor and pushed and pushed, then made them get in touch with specialists and charities to make an appointment. For all the time you’re in that doctors surgery, you basically employ that doctor, they are there to help you, not the other way round, and they must help you. Doctors must help you, if you’re far from home, and need to see a doctor, and they have time, they cannot refuse you, their Hippocratic oath first states “First do no harm.”
Me: Do you feel better in yourself now?
P1: I haven’t had any treatment for 9 years, because I had really comprehensive treatment course outside of hospital, sadly that intimidates doctors, if i need help and say, “I had this course, what can you offer?”, they’ll say “What can we do that’s better?”. What can they do? The course i want doesn’t exist yet. They’re able to come and see you, they’re not able to help, if they’re not educated. They see it day to day, it’s different to going to meeting someone face to face. The people in the offices who makes the decisions don’t see it. There are things i have problems with, for example, it took 12 years to open a bank account. If had someone who knew what to do, I could have done it quicker. I can write it all down, i can roleplay with my kids or friends to prepare myself, but it leaves you, you freeze and forget. My support worker didn’t know how to help, she just left, pretended she didn’t know me. She stood there next to me while i had a freak out in the town and country office, and just stood away from me, didn’t help me at all. I need someone who knows what to do. I need plans to tackle daily problems. More proactive help is needed! More money spent on understanding mental health means less need for standard hospitals.
So there you have it, I have wrapped mental health in a nice little nutshell for you, and if you’re still not prepared to accept that there are wounds you can’t see, wounds you can’t heal in a few weeks, then I can’t help you. But if you’re prepared to educate yourself, maybe you can help someone else. Please.