Why we need excellent crisis care everywhere
Posted Thursday 24 May 2012
Sarah writes about two very different experiences of crisis care and explains why excellent crisis care needs to be consistent.
Consistency seems to be society’s new buzz word. Everyone from parents to politicians are being advised to be consistent – to foster relationships of trust and safety.
The following stories demonstrate why having consistency in the mental health crisis care system is worth the investment.
Janey was in hospital. She overdosed and was waiting for psychological assessment. She felt ashamed of her actions but was treated kindly by the nurse. Janey was advised she was well enough to go home and was offered a variety of care options.
Janey chose to stay in a respite care house. She was able to take a break from life and avoid being admitted to a hospital ward. Janey had 24/7 access to support staff.
After a week she felt more stable. Her care was passed to the crisis team who were able to take her home. The team kept in daily contact with Janey and supported her for a further week.
With support from the crisis team, Janey was encouraged to apply for university. After being admitted to hospital and believing her life was over, University had a significant positive impact on her wellbeing.
Amanda was in hospital. She had been abusing medication and felt suicidal. While waiting for psychological assessment, Amanda felt helpless about her situation and was treated unkindly by the nurse. Amanda tried discussing her suicidal thoughts but was told she was well enough to go home.
She was offered one option of care – a next-day referral to the crisis team.
Amanda left in distress but attended the appointment. She explained that she was a student who shared a house and had no privacy for home visits. She also explained her housing situation caused her a lot of stress. Amanda knew she would find respite care helpful.
The crisis team looked at her in surprise. Surely she knew respite was not available in her area? But Amanda didn’t know. She was offered home help which she declined. She became angry as she felt she had not been listened to. The assessor scribbled down “unwilling to engage with support offered.”
Two days later Amanda was back in hospital. She had overdosed and was awaiting another psychological assessment. Again, she was treated coldly by the nurse.
She was told she was well enough to go home and her unwillingness to accept home help meant there were no other options for her.
Amanda went home and carried on alone. A few days later Amanda took a second overdose. She experienced the same treatment. She was threatened with security if she did not leave the hospital.
Amanda’s experience of crisis care had not met her needs. Her condition worsened. Amanda has since taken leave from her studies to recover.
Janey and Amanda are the same person. They’re both me.
Crisis care is inconsistent.
Where I was living affected the services that were available to me. Excellent crisis care helped me recover and move forward with my life. Poor crisis care really set me back. This is why I believe it’s important for excellent crisis care to be available everywhere.
Mind is campaigning for excellent Crisis care to be available everywhere, for everyone.
Learn more and find out how you can support the campaign.
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