Thursday 1 January 2015

A Mental Health Emergency is still an Emergency

I've been reading through this Guardian article today. The title was originally "Mental Health 'emergencies' expected to reach highest figures this winter" but was quickly changed to "Mental Health patient admissions to A&E set to reach record levels" after complaints on Twitter.

Not much better is it?

I'd love to know why they felt they had to put "emergencies" in single quotation marks. It feels as if they believe Mental Health emergencies are not real emergencies. If that is the case, then clearly they need to start listening more. Just looking through the Twitter hashtags #mentalwish  and #crisisteamfail would be a start.

I've been tempted to add "what if physical illnesses were treated like mental illnesses" but the fact is we shouldn't have to compare this in order for people to care enough to make mental health a priority.

"emergency doctors warned that overstretched A&E departments are the wrong place for people in mental distress." I agree that A&E is an extremely poorly designed place for people going through mental health crises, but it is actually where we are advised to go. Often, it's the only option available when someone is in crisis. From my own experiences, every medical professional (who I have been in contact with about my mental health) has told me to go to A&E if I feel I am at risk of harming myself, or have already harmed myself. The option of contacting Crisis Team is still there, but I have to be referred to them (through my GP, a psychotherapist etc) and I don't know about anyone else, but my crises don't always like to happen within office hours.

I've written more information about my own experiences (when in crisis) in my posts Last Night and Crisis (Trigger Warning for details of self harm and suicide in both posts)

I don't have all the answers (believe me, I'd be shouting them from the rooftops if I did!) but something needs to be done. A lot more funding, better education and training, some service that a person can access directly and quickly with well trained staff, more accessible and flexible services. The list goes on. 

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