This is not a well-thought-out post, but a little rant I need to have at service providers involved in my MH care.
I was discharged from a psychiatric ward more than three months ago now. Today I went to visit my GP to find out how to see a psychiatrist because I don’t know which team I’m under, and I’ve recently taken myself off some of my prescribed medication, so think I need a med review. My GP had no idea who I was being managed by (if anyone), or even that I’d been in hospital. The discharge summary from my consultant on the ward has not been sent (I’ve not had my copy either, so it’s not a postal thing). Instead of offering to find out for me, as I realise now he should have done, he advised me to call the ward. He gave me a repeat prescription of anti-depressants (which ones, and dosage dictated by me, as they were changed on the ward), and sent me on my way without so much as a “how are you feeling?”.
(I also asked him about the criteria for a breast reduction, and after a completely non-subtle glance at my chest, he said it wasn’t going to happen, mentioned something about austerity, and didn’t even ask why I’d like one or felt I needed one, or offer to even talk me through the next step. There is no next step: he’s judged from a 2-second glance that I don’t have massive tits (I do, I was dressed to minimise), and that’s that. My genderhazy confusion, related self-esteem issues & history of back issues never even made it into the conversation).
The nurse on the ward has left a note for the doctors to send the discharge review, agreeing it should have been received by now. Naturally, you can’t actually speak to a doctor directly. Next call was to the Crisis Team to find out if I was still under them, or had ever been picked up by my local Community Mental Health Team as was meant to happen when I left hospital (of course, the doctor never actually wrote that referral up, either). It took my spouse 5-6 phonecalls to get through to the Crisis Team as their phonelines are down. How people in an actual crisis are managing, I’ve no idea. The Crisis Team confirm I have indeed been picked up by a consultant of my CMHT (they don’t know which one though), and they will be the ones handling my med review. If we hadn’t called, I don’t know how we’d ever have found this out… I could easily have been left waiting for the letter from the CMHT introducing themselves… or a letter from the Crisis Team discharging me.
And what does all this fuckery mean? It means once again that a very clear message is being sent to me, and anyone who’s had a similar experience: the services set up to help in times of mental ill-health or distress just don’t care. If not for my spouse, and some friends on Twitter giving me a nudge to ask the questions, make the call, I could have fallen through the cracks so easily… and it isn’t the first time. I worry for someone with depression and suicidal thoughts, like me, who has nobody but these people to rely on, because the GP might not ask how you are, the Crisis Team are unreachable, and nobody employed to help seems to give a flying fuck.