Mike blogs about his experience of crisis care before meeting his MP this afternoon.
I am passionate about promoting excellent crisis care. The quality of crisis care interventions, services and resources are inconsistent and they are also underfunded. This situation is made worse by government spending cuts which are a costly false economy both in financial and human terms.
When I was in acute crisis, with a severe mental breakdown, my personal experience of being on the receiving end of this care was a mixed bag of good, mediocre and poor service.
I was lucky to have been referred to an excellent consultant psychiatrist who went to great lengths to really understand what had happened to me. He was also very supportive to my wife which I appreciated. His best medication, rather than the questionable drugs he poured down my throat, was how he was with me. He was always very kind, supportive and sensitive. He had great interpersonal skills and used an appropriate CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) approach.
What was not so good was the shabby run down day hospital he referred me to (which he apologised for). The treatment and care I got there ranged from good to poor by the nurses and occupational therapists. Of particular concern was the long periods of time services users were left on their own to support each other while staff sat in their isolated office adjoining the separate staff toilets!
Interestingly the most therapeutic member of staff by far was the most junior in terms of professional qualifications.
Why is it that mental health centres are either very shabby or modern and clinical and often unwelcoming places to visit?
People appreciate and respond far better to holistic therapeutic places such as the nationally acclaimed award winning Leeds User Led Crisis Centre and London's Maytree Centre These centres are warm welcoming environments that promote recovery. They are places where people feel safe and valued. It’s this model that we need to see replicated all over the country.
I really hope that this meeting can act as a spring board. We need excellent service provision in every town and city. It would make sound the financial savings in reducing mental health problems and suicide, quite apart from providing a quality humane compassionate response to those in crisis.