I have just finished watching last night’s episode of 999 what’s Your Emergency, my husband and I watch it weekly, yet last night we had a film night so he recorded it.
I had been pre warned that the topic was mental health and a few have asked me what I thought of it.
What do I feel after watching it? Angry
I am angry that one of our countries most vulnerable groups of people is being failed in such a way. I empathise with the emergency services who are trying their very best under finance cuts, lack of staff and of course being left to pick up the pieces of a broken society.
Where are the qualified mental health professions in times of need? How is a police officer or paramedic not trained to deal with a mental health patient supposed to do their job correctly? I admire the way they do respond, how they try to treat everyone the same, yet we are not the same, we do need specialised help at times.
Narrator Hugo Speer said: “A quarter of the UK population will suffer from mental health problems at some time in their lives.
“And with the number of psychiatric beds falling by 80 per cent in a generation, inevitably the emergency services are dealing with more people with serious mental health problems.”
Lee the schizophrenic as I am led to believe he was, terrified and scratching at the itching inside of his head, literally ripping his own hair out sat in the back of an ambulance. Lee and Frederick become quite apparent and the descriptive note that the paramedic gave offered a real insight into the world of mental health, his head rolled back and his eyes glazed over, a frosty stare and even the lines on his faced changed, he looked like a different man. There were 2 men in that ambulance, not 1. Is a paramedic qualified to deal in these circumstances?
I have no reason to doubt that the paramedic was terrified of what she was witnessing, yet I admire the way in which she was able to deal professionally with her patient. But that was not her job; she is neither a mental health nurse nor a psychiatrist.
“Take me somewhere safe” he pleaded and she did, to the local hospital, where she stayed by his sound. My throat chocked up when he repeatedly apologised to her. What has he to be sorry about? It is the government and the mental health services that should be saying sorry.
I hope Lee was given the correct care and support and not just tossed to one side and shoved back out into the community with no continuous support, like so many are.
The police officer stated he spent most of his career working as a social worker, not as a police officer, so where are the social workers?
I felt the pain the daughter’s voice from the lady, their mother who threw herself out of the window of her 14th floor flat. For twenty years she had battled with depression, she could not find a job, who would employ a women with a long line of mental health problems? Go on I dare you to tell me we live in a world where we are all accepted as equal. Bollocks.
She jumped because the pain of living in this world another minute was too difficult, she didn’t do it for a cry for help, she knew what she was doing. Where were her support workers around this time in her life when she was at her lowest? Did nobody notice?
It angers me, it frustrates me and it makes me disgusted.
There has been a huge increase in mental health related calls, I wonder why. The lack of support we receive from the system that is there to care for us is diabolical, the antidepressants they shove out quicker than pick a mixes in a sweet shop are by their judgement, enough for us. We live in a world where it’s easy to brush everything under the carpet and pretend it is not happening.
The mental health system offers short term solutions; they do not solve the problem. The moment you appear to be 60% well you are thrown out and expected to go away and get on with your life, if you’re lucky with a repeat prescription of a concoction of pills, but no support.
There are no jobs, there is no money and we are losing our benefits because nobody will employ us. The system for mental health benefit claimants has been written by a two year old and the Job Centre staff who process these interviews are no more qualified in mental health than a window cleaner is. Yet we have to go to these interviews for them to tell us we are fit for work, and the cycle begins again.
We are made to feel outcasts, judged by society, with no long term support. Yet who is there to pick up the pieces? The emergency services it seems.