Elizabeth: my experience of crisis care
Elizabeth was in her first term of ballet school, yet despite fulfilling her dream began to feel depressed. Knowing she wasn’t just homesick, she quit college and returned home, where her GP prescribed antidepressants.
Elizabeth felt little improvement and, after suffering a major set back, went to a private hospital for intensive support.
It was brilliant. There were treatments and things to do every day, and in the evenings you were free to plan your own time, and spend time with other patients. The staff were fantastic.
Elizabeth’s private care ended, and her depression deepened. Desperate for help and suicidal, she went to A&E.
I was sent home and told the home treatment team would come round the next day. Nobody turned up.
The day after that, still no one came. I couldn’t cope with this – I told them I was suicidal, but no help had come.
My GP chased it up but even then it was another two days… and then they only came by for 10 minutes.
Weeks later Elizabeth was back in A&E, and this time agreed to be admitted to hospital –which proved rather different to her private care.
It was disturbing how little was done for the patients.
You were left all day and all night to wander around the ward, unsupervised. There were no staff, nobody to talk to.
I thought there would be some treatment, a therapy session, just something – there was nothing. Nobody made an effort to make anyone better.
Elizabeth was kept shut in, refused access to outside space and was so upset by her environment she didn’t eat a single hospital meal. After three days, a doctor finally arrived for assessment.
He said: ‘you’ve got no reason to be depressed. There hasn’t been a death in the family’.
Elizabeth was left to ‘think’ and after a week without treatment or staff contact, was convinced hospital was making her worse. She requested to leave and once back home, the home treatment team visited, again for just 10 minutes.
After two visits, they stopped coming.
I realised that I was going to have to work on my depression myself, without the NHS. After the failed home treatment visits, I got myself a private therapist. I am a student and only work part time, but that’s what I needed to do to get myself better.
After her experiences of crisis care in her local area, Elizabeth is adamant she will never seek NHS crisis services again.
I feel… sort of a little scarred by the whole experience. However bad it gets, I will never, ever take myself to A&E again.