Set up 24 hour Mental Health Crisis Centres in the UK
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Like most people I have heard many horror stories of people with mental Illness seeking help, only to be turned away. In the worst cases these people commit suicide and in the mildest they harm themselves. I didn't really understand until It happened to me. Last week I experienced a terrifying disphoric mania and was suicidal. I was turned away left right and centre and even sent a letter threatening removal from the patient list for using "abusive language" by the doctor that refused to visit. During the phone call I said the "f" word twice in the context of being desperate for a visit from my doctor. There were no threats, name calling or otherwise abusive language during my call, I was having a panic attack.When i finally managed to stumble to the surgery i was told ALL of the doctors were out on HOUSE CALLS and i was free to wait for the next 3 hours. I went to the psychiatric unit by taxi with the intention of comitting myself temporarily. They did not help. Eventually I was driven to the Mental Health centre where I see my Care Coordinator by appointment- i did not know they would be able to help. Had It been after 6pm there would have been nowhere to take me. Even so, they could only talk and then send me home when I was too tired to harm any longer. I did the right thing seeking help but I got NO HELP.
I was lucky, my episode passed and I am stable, but many, many people are not that lucky and their illness claims their life.We need to start saving lives instead and that starts with your help.
Currently there is NOWHERE for a person who is suicidal or severely distressed to actually go for psychiatric crisis prevention out of working hours. Doctors refuse home visits, psychiatric units are purely residential and hospital ER departments are not trained or set up for Mental Health Crisis support. Additionally people are told that they can be helped when they actually "do" something and not just because they think they will.Hospitals are clogged up with victims of self-harm that they actually can't help other than bandaging them up after a 2-4 hour wait. There are helplines galore but sometimes that is not enough, we need a PLACE to be safe and supported while in crisis so that our families and friends do not have to suffer the fallout of the illness-especially our children. For those who are alone and without support the need is even greater.There is a huge and quite frankly terrifying gap in our Healthcare provision and this needs to be addressed.
I am currently campaigning for mental health and neurological difference to be added to our National Curriculum in order to get the right information embedded into the next generation but this does not help us now, here in the midst of a mental health crisis across the country. We need direct action for the thousands of people suffering with nowhere to go that can help them out of hours.We are constantly told to seek help but where is that help? It doesn't exist and people are dying because their mental illness doesn't restrict itself to a 9-5 working day.
I am aware that MIND the Mental Health organisation is campaigning for better mental health training for GPs and this is definitely needed, but the elephant in the room is that all the training in the world doesn't help if you are at crisis point after 6pm or on the weekend.
Please join me in campaigning for specialist crisis centres to be set up, funded and staffed to serve the growing number of desperate men, women and children with nowhere to go when they are seriously mentally unwell. You could be saving lives. Thank you.
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