More trauma therapy and support needed on NHS for rape victims suffering from PTSD
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I am forwarding you a letter that I had sent to the CEO of Southern Health NHS asking for some support in coping with the traumas I have suffered. I received no reply and since writing this letter the bed manager for Southern Health has discharged me back into the community, to go home, with limited support and no solution to address my traumas which is needed in order for me to fully recover.
I have enclosed a copy of this letter to highlight the lack of support on the NHS available to patients who are diagnosed with PTSD/Complex PTSD. More needs to be done in order to highlight the importance of victims suffering from trauma and how they are managed within the NHS; as at this current time there is little on offer leaving victims with a feeling of hopelessness and desperation. The letter reads as below;
To whom this may concern,
I am currently an NHS in-patient at _______ in ___________. I arrived here on _______ as it was felt necessary for a hospital admission in order to keep me safe.
In 2011 I was raped twice by my ex-partner. This was reported to the police and it did go to court in 2013. Unfortunately the jury found him not guilty. This is when I had a breakdown and had to receive support for the first time in my life from the mental health services for Complex PTSD. Over the following years I spent all my energy trying to heal from the traumas that I had experienced; I was in and out of hospitals, undertook lots of different therapies and made several attempts to end my life. In 2017 I got myself to a point where I finally felt able to move forward with my life with minimal support from my mental health team; I was coming to a point where I would have been discharged completely.
However in 2017 I had been out for the evening with a friend and at the end of the night on my way home I was raped; I reported this to the police. Understandably this has caused me huge distress and a recurrence of my Complex PTSD. Not only has it triggered flashbacks and nightmares from the recent assault but it has also triggered the flashbacks and nightmares from the previous traumas. As a result this is now my fourth admission to hospital following the attack. I suffer with flashbacks, nightmares, numbness, avoidance and hopelessness and on many occasions suicidal thoughts. The reason for my current admission was a result of attempting to jump off a bridge; the police did however manage to talk me down and I was then detained under section 136 which has led me to where I am now.
I have now been in hospital for 12 days and am aware that at any point southern health could recall me back to a bed in a different hospital nearer to my home. This apprehension and uncertainty is preventing me from being able to fully commit to my recovery, by way of the therapies available here, in getting better. The type of therapies that are used in the treatment of trauma and PTSD/Complex PTSD are not currently available on the NHS in my locality therefore I feel like I am trapped in a vicious cycle of continually managing the issue instead of trying to treat it and move on. In addition because of my current vulnerability and risk I am to myself it has been advised not to access services independently as there would be no after care available following an appointment/session which is imperative in order to keep me safe.
I am desperate to get my life back and do want to recover from all of this however I feel the current support I am getting is not allowing me to do this. I have a partner and three children whom I am unable to care for and who too are deeply affected by these events. I am also someone who works to look after and care for others and who loves her job but due to my current mental health I am unable to carry out this work.
I just need a break and someone to help invest in me so that I can finally recover and move forward with my life hopefully with the aim of in the future using my traumas and experiences to help others who may be struggling with similar issues.
If there is any possibility of this or you have any suggestions I would be so grateful and would be unable to tell you how much it would mean to me.
I am contactable on either my email address or on my mobile.
(Name not wanting to be disclosed for confidentiality purposes)
Since this letter was sent I was discharged without notice and planning from this hospital. Following this I spiralled into crisis again and ended up trying to end my life on 3 seperate occasions by way of taking an overdose, trying to drown myself and I’ve been back to the bridge but was pulled off it and restrained by bystanders. On each occasion I have been admitted to my local a&e and after an assessment been told by their psychiatric team that they would find me a bed in a mental health facility to keep me safe however each time after waiting hours/days for this to happen I was then informed that plans had changed and I was being discharged home. Each time this happened my feelings of complete hopelessness and desperation grew stronger. Eventually I was placed in my local psychiatric hospital and was an in-patient for 11 days. On day 10 I was informed that a firm plan would be looked at before discharging me to day 11 when I was informed by a doctor, who had never met me, that I was being discharged back into the community.
I am desperate to find a way out of this, I currently feel back in crisis with minimal support. When I have enquired about mental health support for victims of rape who are suffering from complex post traumatic stress disorder, I have been met with the same answer that there is limited support and expertise available on the NHS from support workers through to psychiatric consultants. More needs to be done to help victims of sexual assault who are suffering with their mental health following a trauma.
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