Thursday, 26 April 2018

Do The Crisis Team Really Help?

Crisis teams are part of the NHS who give urgent help to people suffering with mental health problems. But the question is, do the crisis team really help? The great majority of people who have had experiences with the crisis team would say absolutely not. 

A professional such as a GP, Community Mental Health Team (CMHT), A&E department or the police will refer you to a crisis team, before this has happened, the team cannot help you. The crisis team can help you if you are having a mental health crisis in the community, like your own home. They are available 24/7. The team try to make sure you don’t need to go into hospital, but if you are very unwell, you might still need to go.

Having a mental health crisis can mean different things, the general things that people contact for are:
  • thinking about suicide or acting on suicidal thoughts
  • going through psychosis, where you are out of touch with your normal reality, or doing something that could put you or other people at risk. 
A crisis team can offer you help in different ways. They will carry out an assessment to find out if they can help you. The team may arrange regular visits to your home, offer you medication or make sure that you are in touch with other mental health services to get long term support. A crisis team can also support you when you are discharged from a short stay in hospital. Someone from the team may visit you at home to make sure you are keeping well.


BUT...

Many people have had bad experiences with the crisis team, and many say that the team have made them feel a million times worse. Something needs to be done.

Here are only a few of the experiences of some of my mutuals:
"I have had to see the crisis team and I told them if you let me go I’m literally going to kill my self and they just let me go.... it’s an absolute joke, like they wouldn’t let someone leave if they were physically sick, so I don’t know why it’s any different for mental health?"

"I’ve had someone tell me, when I was in hospital, ‘if you really want to kill yourself, stop having incidents get yourself discharged and do it then’ these services are awful."

"They seem to work on the idea that they help support people with mental health issues who have been admitted to hospital to stay out of hospital and not help the people that are in the community and are trying to prevent a hospital visit. I’ve presented at the hospital multiple times over the past 10 Years - and without a doubt, every single one of those visits ended up with me leaving 2/3 hours later with no support or practical advice. They weren’t support, they didn’t even listen to what I was saying before they’d interrupt me and link what I was going through to my something stupid. At the end, all they did was email my community mental health team and let me walk free - even though I was sent there to prevent an attempt on my life. It was only after the assessment one of the nurses told me that people with BPD are untreatable and that hospital care wouldn’t help me. It was a couple weeks after that incident that I found out that nurses have a duty of care to prevent patients that are suicidal by getting them inpatient care - which they’ve failed to do for me every time I’ve been seen by them."

"I remember when I was in hospital with suicide ideation a woman who was looking after me basically said that I don’t deserve my hospital bed and I should leave. The other woman was encouraging me to stay and get help. Some people are ignorant to mental illness, and treat it like a common cold."

"I have severe anxiety and depression, they never helped, they would tell me that I should calm down and ask me why I was depressed, or felt suicidal, which often I didn’t want to speak about, and it really didn’t feel professional, almost like I was speaking to a secretary. I never really benefited from them, they were more of a supplement for long term mental health support, when I didn’t have therapy or meetings with a counsellor, I was told to just go to them when I felt suicidal, but then was told to ring 999 by others. I was really confused about where to go or help, so I often didn’t go for help, and ended up self harming."

"The crisis team are a joke of a service, they’ve brought more crisis to me and should be scrapped and something new put in place. I’ve been told this many of times."

"The crisis team is really shit to be honest- my mum suffers from mental illness and has manic episodes to show she’s ill. The crisis team used to come to the house to assess her as soon as but now they wait a whole day and leave my mum unattended in a hospital which leads to more trouble as she isn’t given proper medical attention."

These are only a few peoples experiences but never have I ever heard a good word about the crisis team. Its so sad that people arent getting the help they need and I think something has to be done to change this.

You can contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) at your NHS trust if:
  • you are unhappy with how your treatment or care is being handled, or
  • you feel that the relationship between you and a professional is not working

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