Earlier today I knew the subject of today's post and then something strange happened. I received two comments to a previous mental health post: the first told an utterly appalling story of maltreatment and the second was a long reply by another anonymous commenter. These two comments are worthy of a post to themselves and, so, below I append these comments in full - with only minor changes to further enhance anonymity.
Having prepared this post I found that there had been an on-going "conversation" between the two anonymous commenters. The story which is emerging is worthy of much more publicity and I am sure this it will get. in the coming days. I have removed all the comments made from the post and invited the participants to contact me by email so that we can be much more open with each other.
Please read this story and be shocked. The one concession I make to openness is to say that this story happened in Scotland.
"I am writing to you on behalf of A, as his independent advocacy worker, to raise concerns about the treatment that he has received through NHS services with respect to his mental ill health. A has a dual diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder and depression and believes that he is not receiving fair treatment from NHS services as a result of this.
On Tuesday, A attempted suicide by taking an overdose of his medication. However he decided that he may have made a mistake, after which he Contacted Emergency Services and was admitted to the Combined Assessment service at the city’s A&E hospital. He maintains that he was assessed by a Senior House Officer who, after discussion with a consultant, told him that due to the circumstances surrounding, and the reasons for, his suicide attempt this matter was not psychiatry’s responsibility. He believes that his diagnosis may also have influenced the psychiatrist’s decision. A was given Oxygen at the hospital, and was woken regularly through the night as a result of the Co-codamol overdose, and feels that, given the condition he was in, he was treated very poorly by Psychiatry. A was then discharged, upon his own request, at 2pm on Wednesday.
A states that whilst he was in hospital, his friend, after being unable to contact him at home and feeling worried about him, contacted a voluntary care provider, who then advised her to contact his GP. He says that the duty GP at the time contacted the police in order to force entry to his flat. A then states that upon return from hospital on Wednesday afternoon he arrived to discover Dr Z, from the Medical Practice, and the Police outside his flat. He says he doesn’t remember what he said to Dr Z, but she subsequently left him with the Police, who stated that he had claimed that he was going to take an overdose. A would also like to highlight the embarrassment he felt in this situation, having to change his clothes in front of the police after being sick on himself whilst in hospital. He states that the Police then took him into custody claiming it was for his own protection. Yet upon arrival at the Police Station, A claims that he was informed he was being charged with breach of the peace. This was not upheld, as they had no evidence, however A says he was held in a cell overnight, refused a duty solicitor.
He was taken to the custody suite the next day and given a PF discharge. He says he felt he was treated like a common criminal, despite the fact that this suicide attempt was a result of his mental illness. A feels that Dr Z did not handle this situation very well and did not need to involve the Police, and feels that this resulted in his poor treatment at the hands of the Police.
On Friday and Saturday A presented himself at the Psychiatric Emergency Team (PET) at the Mental Health Hospital. On both occasions he was seeking an admission to hospital, however he did not express this to the team at the time. However after being assessed by the nursing team he says he was told to do practical things to deal with how he was feeling. A doesn’t feel that the PET have taken him particularly seriously, again as a result of his Borderline Personality Diagnosis. He claims that after the initial suicide attempt on Tuesday, his friend had contacted the PET on his behalf on Wednesday, but says that upon giving them his name they sounded angry on the phone saying that A knew what he was doing and that she shouldn’t worry about him. In response to this A believes that he is being discriminated against as a result of his diagnosis, and is not receiving the treatment that he feels he requires.
I would be grateful if you could investigate the concerns that A has raised with regards to the psychiatrist at the A&E Hospital, Dr Z’s handling of the situation, and A’s dismissal by the Psychiatric Emergency Team. I look forward to hearing from you."
An Anonymous commenter said:
"In response to A's advocate:
MY GOD. This is utterly and entirely despicable.
This is how public 'services' really treat the most vulnerable people amongst us.
Their own dysfunctional behaviour and total lack of compassion is THE sickness. The 'mental ill-health' is NOT in the apparent sufferer. The sufferer is merely the symptom of the psychopathic doctors/police/etc who run the show.
Poor poor A. My heart goes out to him. And I realise only too well how useless my sympathy and empathy is. He needs real, tangible, practical and substantial support from intelligent, compassionate public services.
We're on the road to hell, people. When these atrocities happen on a regular basis to innocent people who are already crushed by the callous system then we're all done for.
I seriously fear that it's all going to get far worse before we all wake up and make it stop. This is YOUR society - yes, YOU the person reading this. What are YOU doing to fight these callous public services on behalf of people who cannot fight for themselves?
Are YOU content for A to become yet another anonymous suicide statistic?"
This story is similar in parts to the maltreatment done to Mrs Carr. We cannot let this continue.
This is OUR NHS but some of society's most vulnerable are being treated like vermin.
Our politicians MUST get to grips with this obscenity ... NOW!