Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Blister packs... and blisters

Gareth, like many mental health patients, has a history of overdosing as a form of self harm. To that end I administer his blister pack each day with his tablets in so he doesn't have full access to a lot of tablets at once. One of the main criteria of Borderline PD is self harm. Gareth hasn't self harmed for many years - other than overdosing - until last night. After a particularly horrendous night he put several cigarettes out on his hand which is now covered in blisters.

Normally I get angry but today I feel differently. I feel guilty. I was ill last night with ME but I think maybe had I got up and given Gareth ten minutes of my time he may not have resorted to harming himself. That's all he wants a lot of the time, someone to talk to. And I wasn't there for him.

He was discharged from mental health services several weeks ago so has no care coordinator to ring and when he rang the doctors his regular GP was unavailable due to being fully booked despite him being the first person through to the surgery that morning. All other GPs have a tendency to panic because it's mental health and they know nothing so they do what they do best.... refer.

They actually referred him for an assessment to go back into mental health services last time he went in to see the GP and he's only just been discharged! It scares me that GPs are now in charge of the care of mental health patients especially as many know so little and either do nothing or over-react. The new "Recovery" system in this town is bullshit. It seems to me that they've used a great concept as a plaster to address a significant and serious problem in this town. The Recovery team can go back to their bosses now and say that the statistics are great - they've discharged x amount of people into the community - what a success "recovery" is.

I'd say burning yourself with cigarettes for the first time in years, being given the runaround by your GP, being referred for assessment back into services, having no professionals to talk to that has any knowledge whatsoever of your condition and then being referred to Open Minds - the "other" mental health service in the borough really isn't a sign of addressing the problem.

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