Crisis Care for Mental Health – Does it exist?

Mind (charity)

Mind have recently published a report into acute and crisis mental healthcare‘ , they gathered evidence from over 400 service users and professionals and concluded that

“evidence that acute and crisis care can be and is being done well, but we were discouraged by how often people are not getting the support they need when they need it and the numbers of poor, even traumatising, experiences.”

But, other than those cases of ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ care highlighted in their report I have been unable to find any examples of this myself. So, is it real or is it just a myth?Is it that those who state the care they received was ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ are just not willing or able to complain, or see it for what it really was – inadequate, poor, or at best ‘okay’?

Is it just that people who have ‘good’ experiences are less likely to talk about it than those who have not?

Or is it me? Am I so disheartened by my own experiences and reading blogs about the poor experiences of others that I cannot accept that ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ mental health care exists, in times of crisis and even just in general!?

Examples of ‘Good’ or ‘Excellent’ acute and crisis mental healthcare

These examples are drawn from the Mind report and Mind blogs:

“I went to the GP in a very bad state – I was impressed how quickly I was seen by the mental health crisis team. They kept seeing me three times a day at home and left it as long as they could till I needed to be taken into the [inpatient unit]. The crisis team were friendly and caring.”

“The team really responded to little changes in my mental health, and prevented things from getting worse. If it all got too much, I went to the local hospital, which was seamless. The staff were professional and took an interest – they really knew what they were doing. It was a place where I could get genuine help which put my family and friends’ minds at rest.”

“My initial involvement with the crisis team was extremely positive. They were supportive and non-judgemental and helped me through a very difficult period.” (Nikki)

Video – Elizabeth’s Experience of Crisis Care – 

and just a single blog post not from the Mind website –

Purple-Noise – Getting it Right where Aliquant describes a positive experience with A&E

Examples of ‘Bad’ experiences of  acute and crisis mental healthcare

Now I could go on for ages here as I have so many examples to include but, in the interests of ‘fairness and balance’ I am only going to share the same number of quotes as I did for the above, but I will leave you with a few more links to other ‘bad’ experiences, so you can make up you own mind about the balance of good against bad experiences…

Quotes from the Mind report and Mind Blogs

“There is now nowhere for people like me to go. There is a night-time phoneline run by the locked ward, but frequently there is no one to answer it. Equally, if you don’t need a locked ward, but do need night support, there is nowhere to turn.

People in crisis need fast access to services. However, as budgets are cut and staff become stretched, service users are left to fend for themselves and many people just do not get access to their support.”

“It feels like I literally have to have one foot off the bridge before I can access services.”

“On arrival I was interviewed by two members of the crisis team. I was shouted at, and told I was wasting police time. One of them told me that if their mum was being burgled whilst the police were dealing with me they would be furious!

I was also accused of being manipulative and references were made to my sex life with my husband. I was already suicidal when I arrived at the hospital and this treatment only served to compound those feelings.” (Nikki)

Video – Elizabeth gets turned away – 

Links to other ‘bad’ experiences –

Firstly my own, ‘What happened to my Crisis care?‘ since writing this I have had yet another bad experience, I was in crisis and needed help I used the number for the crisis team I was given in this post turned out to be the wrong number, when I eventually got hold of the crisis team I was told that I could not get help from them because I am not ‘currently receiving services’ – no shit Sherlock, I’m on a goddamn waiting list!

Purple Persuasion had a bad time when she was in crisis due to medication issues – Keep Yourself Alive

Mental Mouth describes ‘Being Left to Rot‘ by NHS services due to moving home, a common experience.

and Zoe discusses getting ‘The right help at the right time

the Sunshine Kid describes her first experience of crisis care as part of a series of posts on this topic

I’m going to leave the examples there as I could go on forever giving examples of the piss poor NHS services in the UK.

Further examples of the difficulties being faced in mental health care are making headlines all the time such as this report in the Guardian, yet it doesn’t seem to have any impact how ever loud we scream…

But the big question is WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT THIS?

The Mind Campaign is a start and there a things you can do to get involved by clicking here to find out more, but we still need to do more. People are dying because of the lack of appropriate services for mental health care in crisis. When you are in crisis you are likely to be suicidal, at your lowest and incapable of many of the things others ‘expect’ you to do in these kind of circumstances – asking for help is a HUGE task and if the first place you turn to for help turn you away, you feel worthless and are unlikely to ask again, taking matters into your own incapable hands and potentially ended up in a successful suicide attempt.

Purple Persuasion is going to write a Utopian vision of what she would like in crisis help.

The thing is no matter how much we mentalist write about this problem and the many others surrounding mental health care failings it seems to be falling on deaf ears – our readers are like minded sufferers, we need to reach a larger audience, we need to make the people with the power ‘hear’ our voices. To do that we need the help of as many people as possible sharing our stories with people who may be able to do something to make a change in these situations.

That’s why we need YOU!

We need you to send links to our blogs to your MP’s, your local counsellors, your local NHS chairperson, your local newspaper, your local radio station and anyone else who may be in a position of power of mediation who can promote the need to DO something to improve mental health services!

So I am asking you, can you do this?

Can you forward a link to this blog to at least ONE person today who may be able to help in some way?



5 comments on “Crisis Care for Mental Health – Does it exist?

  1. I think this is an example of several things…
    1. There are folks who do receive good or better care. But, like any bureaucracy – corporate or government- that does not mean such care is uniform. Or, perhaps, the great caregiver was having a bad day for you and others…
    2. There is a study that demonstrates that if an event is mediocre or better- we tend to remember those as the good old days. If there was a singular (or multiple) event that was horrendous, it will tip the scales to a negative. It’s the intensity of the event, more than the multiplicity of the event, that colors our memories…. (Check my blog out in December when I publish these results…)

    • I agree with what you suggest Roy! It would just appear that the ‘good’ or ‘better’ care is in the minority 😦 and definitely we are more likely to speak up about bad experiences than good ones!

  2. Pingback: Clarkson, Strikes, Suicide – where are people’s priorities? | Day in the life of a Busy Gal…

  3. It may just be me and my professional perspective(!) but I’ve seen too many advice guides which encourage people to call the police during mental health crisis. The police are almost always going to turn up – they view themselves as the service of last resort, turning out if no-one else will – but whether that view is right or wrong; the fact is that police officers at any MH crisis where no offence has been committed and human beings with mouth, some common sense and (hopefully) some compassion; what they are not is trained professionals who can initiate pathways to appropriate services for people in need. No 999 emergency service can easily engage 24/7 MH or NHS crisis services. Most of the time they would not accept referals.

    Even the Institue of Psychiatry (no less) give out crisis information which is outrageously inappropriate: telling people to call the polie because “They have powers to remove people to a place of safety” Only in public places – have a crisis in your own house, police are powerless to intervene or refer, except through human compassion and persuasion.

    • Calling the police has never been suggested to me, but I wouldn’t even consider that anyway. In a similar vain it has often been suggested to ‘go to A&E’ but again I wouldn’t do that as I don’t consider myself to be in need of emergency medical care when in crisis, not of the kind available in A&E anyway :S

      The problem is there is no real place to call upon (other than phoning Samaritans, but what can they do other than talk to you?) unless you are already recieving services the ‘crisis’ team won’t help, Gp’s you have to ‘wait’ for an appointment, where is there to turn? I don’t have the answer, and judging by the calls I made when I was last in crisis there is no-where to turn 😦

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