Updated: Jan 31, 2022
Visualize the most important person in your life standing before you smiling. Focus on that nice warm feeling deep down inside of you. Focus on the happy memories you two have made together. Think about the things that you still hope to do with this person. Now picture a huge fire, dark red and burnt orange flicker close to your face, the heat becoming painful. You hear them screaming, but you can’t save them, you can’t reach them. Why? Because this fire is in the mind. It’s a slow-burning killer called depression.
This fire can be put out if they get the right help in time though. But, despite you, your loved one, and many other people begging the mental health services for help, no help comes. You are simply promised call-backs that never happen, you are simply told to go to AE to sit on a hard, metal chair foe eight hours, only to be told it's not an emergency, given a leaflet, and sent home. If you had a broken arm and were turned away it would be headline news. Yet, the culture in the UK is that mental illness isn’t important. Your plans, goals and dreams for this person burn away right before your very eyes. The so-called ‘professionals’ tell you to think positive thoughts, man up, and stop ringing. Your thoughts turn darker.
‘Maybe I should make the mental health service people suffer for ignoring my loved one.’
‘Maybe I should join them and kill myself too, as it's obvious that no help is coming.’
You ring more and more, write more emails, send more letters, make more visits, but you are simply told that if you keep ringing you’ll be arrested for being a nuisance and to try the Samaritans. The Samaritans are a brilliant listening service, but that's all they are, a listening service, they don’t give advice and they can’t give regular support or treatment for a specific issue. Even patients living on actual mental health wards are being told by untrained staff to stop bothering them and to ring Samaritans. This is the reality of mental health treatment in the UK.
The years go by so quickly. Your loved one is suffering day in day out now but all you can do is watch helplessly as they get worse and worse. The things that you had hoped to do together now seem very unlikely. You now just spend the days looking after them, checking on them, making sure that they are actually alive and not dead on the floor without anybody even knowing. No coffee shops. No cinema trips. No shopping. Phone calls get less and less. They just simply exist, trapped in a house unable to do much for themselves. It’s heart-breaking, it’s traumatic, and it’s sucking the life right out of you. They often tell you that they are sick of being in pain, sick of not getting any help and just want to die, kill themselves, finish it, or, in their own words, ‘escape the darkness’. You break down into tears. All you can do is watch as your loved one grows older and older and the pain they are in gets worse and worse and worse. Time is running out. You feel so angry towards the authorities that they have robbed you of your loved one. You know deep down inside that they may die before you. The word suicide lingers on the tip of your tongue, the word suicide torments your mind, haunts you in your sleep. When you ring to check on them, their phone is often switched off and you just wish and wish to yourself that this isn’t the time that they’ve gone through with it. Gone forever, coffin lowered, never, ever coming back. You know full damn well that it didn’t have to be this way, your loved one could have had a decent quality of life if there was mental health treatment available for all, not just for the rich.
What you have just read is how I feel every day. My father is suicidal, has severe depression, PTSD from child abuse and experiences in the UK Army, is also physically disabled yet, despite all of this, gets no mental health support at all whatsoever due to how awful the UK mental health 'services' are.
Important- I refuse to ever refer to the NHS Mental Health People as a ‘system’ as this word implies something is working, which it quite clearly isn’t. The dictionary definition of the word system is:
SYSTEM- A set of things working together as parts of a mechanism or an interconnecting network; a complex whole. The opposite of UK mental health services.
Due to privatization, staff cuts, and entire hospitals and services being shut down, the result is that hardly anything is connected or working well. Suicidal people who are ringing 999 for help are being handcuffed and taken to court for ‘wasting police time’ or ‘malicious communications.’ Nearly everyone is telling desperate, suicidal people to ring the elusive ‘crisis team’ for support, but, these people are extremely difficult to get a hold of, and, when people eventually get through, they are simply told to make a cup of tea or told to go to AE and wait for hours, only to be sent home again. People that ring ‘too much’ are arrested and charged at court with ‘harassment’. This happened to me. Let’s just say it how it really is, what’s happening in the UK is a deliberate cull by the Tory party, it’s been happening for years and it’s only getting worse. I have written various articles about my horrific childhood so will not fully repeat everything that is already published, however, for the people reading my work now for the very first time, I will go through the very basics so that you can get some context. I grew up alone with my father as my mother suffers from serious schizophrenia and was in and out of mental health hospitals, I’ve only met her once in my life. At the tender age of twelve I got dragged away and put into a secure mental health hospital where, day in and day out, I got tortured psychologically and sexually. I was sent around the country like a parcel, denied an education, then spat back out into the community at age 19, with very little support. When I actually got the courage to ask for support in the community I was demonized, sent to court by NHS mental health services and given various criminal convictions for simply asking for help. They called me a ‘nuisance’ and accused me of ‘wasting services time’. They classed the bloodstains on the carpet, the blood spray on the wall, and a cut wrist that required seventeen stitches as a waste of everybody’s time. My life meant didn't mean anything to them back then and, to be honest, it never will. I ended up in prison for repeatedly calling my crisis team which heavily traumatized me. I know that I will never ask the NHS for help ever again.
I'll discuss my father. For most of his life he has struggled with his mental health. He suffers from serious suicidal depression, agoraphobia, anxiety, PTSD from child abuse and experiences in the UK army as well as having serious, life-threatening physical issues. He is addicted to prescription medication such as codeine, diazepam, lorazepam and related drugs which he was prescribed in the mid 1980’s following a suicide attempt. He told me that in the early 1980’s he had a proper mental health team, was able to speak to a psychologist and when he felt like he was getting really unwell, was able to voluntarily admit himself to a mental health hospital for respite. My father also worked for a short time as a psychiatric nurse, just throwing that into the mix. Unfortunately, all of these services have gone now, they were shut down by Margaret Thatcher’s Tory government. People’s lives didn’t come into it. ‘Care in the community’ was promised but this never materialized. The people that were the most desperate and in need of lifelong support were simply put into bed and breakfasts or in flats on their own to rot, suicide was inevitable, but this is the Tory way, profit before people. My father had a scary, abusive childhood that has seriously traumatized him. He has attempted suicide twice, both nearly dying and as a result of these suicide attempts, has a destroyed pancreas, resulting in a serious condition called pancreatitis which he is on medication for. He also served in the British Army for a year which he very rarely talks about, nor gets any support for.
When I was a child, we did do some things together like go to the cinema, go to the beach, meals out, etc but sadly I don’t really remember many details as my memory has been affected by trauma. Whilst I was locked up in secure services being beaten to a pulp and raped, my father didn’t receive any specialist support and never has done. To have your own child locked up hundreds of miles away from home being subjected to abuse, not being able to save them, and not knowing if they are ever coming back home is one of a parent's worst fears. He tells me he's eaten up by guilt and haunted daily by the memories of this, but, because it was the NHS that caused this, they don't want to know.
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