Investigating crisis care: Mind's inquiry so far
Posted Friday 19 August 2011
Guest blog from Paul Grey, who is chairing Mind's inquiry into acute and crisis care mental health services
Back in November 2010, which seems like a long time ago now, Mind asked me to chair an independent inquiry panel investigating the current state of crisis mental health services in England and Wales. The panel's goal is to present a series of recommendations on how to improve the provision of these services.
The inquiry panel has done quite a bit of travelling around England and Wales over the past 10 months, hearing from a wide range of service users and health professionals. We really get a feel of what is happening on the ground when we visit the different sites.
An epic journey to the middle of Wales for one of our panel hearings featured a taxi driver that sped through the countryside like Lewis Hamilton in disguise! It still took forever to reach our destination but, when interviewing crisis teams in Wales the next day, we found that staff were travelling similar distances to meet their clients. What commitment!
There have been times during the inquiry process when I've heard someone's personal experience of using crisis services and felt myself welling up with emotion. And I ask myself, is this really caring? Is this really the healing of the soul? But within hours we would hear of psychiatrists who took time to listen and empathise with an individual, which made so much difference to their experience.
The journey so far has lead the inquiry panel to believe that we must push for an institutional change in acute and crisis care in England and Wales. A good place to start is by putting the people who use these services at the heart of them — not buildings, systems, policies or models, but people. We have found so far that when this happens there are more successful outcomes for everyone involved.
I have used mental health services. I've always said that I am only passing through those services: care is not my final destination. I feel that this inquiry is taking us on a new journey; I hope through our recommendations and the campaign we can make a positive and lasting impact for the people of England and Wales.
A pastor and social entrepreneur, Paul’s experiences within the mental health system give him first-hand knowledge of the issues relevant to service users today. He is a co-founder of I and I (Inspire and Influence), a national black service user movement.
- Read more about our crisis care campaign, and how you can get involved
- Find out what we mean by mental health crisis services
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