Remove my mentally ill brother from the streets & provide him with the treatment he needs
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My brother Patrick needs your help. He has been living on the streets of London for since February 2016, battling multiple mental illnesses with a debilitating drug addiction.
Patrick was diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar and depersonalisation disorder by various doctors years ago, and has spent the past 12 years self-medicating with alcohol and drugs.
After years trying to seek help for my brother and with seemingly no other options left, I started this petition as a public plea to Islington Council and Police to step in. However - after lengthy discussion with services and charities, it has since been made clear that all services are limited with what they can do to help unless he is willing to engage, so I am now asking for a response from the Prime Minister, Teresa May.
Theresa May - please address this serious situation and help provide a wider solution to the mental health/addiction/homelessness crisis.
Currently the only way that Patrick and most other mentally ill homeless people can access help — is if they decide they are ready to access help. No one in their ‘right mind’ would want to live as homeless drug addict, but Patrick is not in his right mind.
Patrick is at rock bottom as a result of years of failure to address his mental health issues.
The once charming, popular and talented young musician has been reduced to a ghost of his former self.
The mental health laws are failing people like Patrick every day. Despite a history of police incidents, hospital admissions and suicide attempts since his teenage years and an extremely long list of unreported incidents, we are unable to move Patrick into full time care as the current laws appear to make this virtually impossible. Now at 29 years old Patrick is living alone on the streets unwilling to accept the help that is constantly being offered to him.
But how can someone experiencing mental illnesses be expected to USE that broken mind to decide whether they need help or not?
Something urgently needs to change. There has to be the option for us family, friends and indeed members of the public to say — “this person needs help” and for mental health professionals to step in to take them to a place of safety.
We shouldn’t have to wait until some terrible incident before we can phone 999 to ask for help.
The Mental Health Act needs updating fast — so that it’s easier for family to help someone in Patrick’s position. Currently, under Section 3 of the Mental Health Act**, an application for sectioning would need to be made by an Approved Mental Health Professional or nearest relative within 14 days of seeing Patrick. The application must then be approved by two doctors who have seen him within five days of each other. I’ve been told by charities and social services that sectioning would be almost impossible in Patrick’s case — it’s difficult enough to section someone who is present with a permanent address. And Section 4 requires an ‘emergency situation’ to appear — which is sadly what we’re reduced to waiting for.
We must look towards changing the laws in order to help cater for and support mentally ill, homeless and addicted people who aren’t able to make the right decisions for themselves. Someone needs to be able to step in to make these decisions for them — to take these people off the street and work through their mental/emotional issues with them, integrate them back into society — before it’s too late.
Family MUST be given increased rights to help their loved ones - we are the ones who have known them all their lives and have seen them and helped them through all manner of situations. Even once a Mental Health Act assessment is achieved and undertaken, how can that 50 minute assessment with strangers be expected to accurately determine the treatment they require ongoing? After the mental health team at Westminster Court couldn't access my brother's GP records in time for his assessment they would not take into account the history I provided them with - they simply believed him when he denied having mental health issues.
There are hundreds of people on the streets like Patrick — and a many a lot worse than Patrick. Our health services need urgently reevaluating to cater for the mentally ill and those who have become homeless as a result of mental illness — to give them a chance in life that they will otherwise miss out on.
I have been informed that due to the area that Patrick is sleeping in, there is no team who can visit Patrick to carry out a Mental Health Act assessment on the street. Patrick's only hope is to be picked up by the police on a 136 if he 'appears' to be mentally unwell and to be referred to services that way. Another flaw in the system.
This is a public plea for the the prospective new leaders of country to please step in and provide a solution to the mental health crisis.
'Care in the community' does not work.
Mental health teams, drugs/alcohol services, police, paramedics, charities are all overstretched and they are not able to work together to help individuals in crisis. Vulnerable people are slipping through the net, becoming homeless and dying alone on the streets because of 'red tape', lack of funding and the disjointed nature of services.
Addiction and mental illness go hand in hand, but dual diagnosis is largely misunderstood and both often mistakenly treated as separate issues. Addiction IS a mental illness and is a result of neglecting to take care of the mind.
Those in crisis who ask for help are facing an excruciating wait for treatment. Those who don't believe they have a problem BECAUSE of their mental illness are left with nothing.
Patrick's situation is a case study for this.
I implore Teresa May to please address the severe lack of funding and awareness around dual diagnosis cases. Please help implement new measures to prevent such cases developing so frequently and provide solutions for treating the huge numbers already affected.
Please consider revising the Mental Health Act to allow families to help their loved ones more easily while increasing funding for their treatment and aftercare and involve families more readily in ongoing treatment communications.
Please start treating the CAUSE of homelessness/mental illness/addiction rather than discovering you cannot cope with the effect.
And please help provide a solution to my brother Patrick's current situation.
Mental illness is the problem — addiction and homelessness are the symptoms.
If you see Patrick on the streets - PLEASE don’t tell him you've seen him on the internet/a campaign/blog etc as he is already paranoid enough and don't tell him to contact me. If you see him - please let me know his whereabouts instead or call 999 in an emergency situation. It was a tough decision to make this public, but I believe the alternative was to simply allow him to die alone on the streets. So I suppose not really a tough decision at all.
However - you could tell him you recognise him from his YouTube channel and are a fan of his songs. Right now Patrick's love of music and the ridiculous amount of talent going to waste could be the one thing that inspires him to seek and accept help.
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