TRIGGER WARNING: DISCUSSION OF SUICIDAL IDEATION
This week has been horrific. So many horrors, for so many reasons. An all-c0nsuming urge to end my life, fed into from different triggers and factors.
But this week I have been so impressed by the response of my local crisis team to me. On Thursday, for the first time ever, when I had the means in front of me, instead of attempting to take my own life I picked up the phone. I tried one of my care coordinators but couldn’t reach her. It was weekday working hours, so technically I am not allowed access to the crisis team at this time, however due to present circumstances the manager has said that I can phone her if it gets to this point. It took an hour to work up the courage, hanging up once, but eventually I managed to call and ask the team to speak to their manager. 10 minutes later, she was phoning the CMHT to get permission to put extra support in for me. Another 10 minutes later and we’d had a round robin of calls to each other, with agreement by all that I would be visited by a nurse from the crisis team who knows me and works well with me that evening to provide support and enable me to at least try to ‘pause’ until I saw her. There was already a plan in place for crisis support the next day (the graded exposure activities I’ve mentioned in the past, as well as support with a meeting with the people from my upcoming placement) and it was then assessed at that point that I needed increased support over the weekend.
This morning, the same nurse who had visited me on Thursday arrived at my house, talked for a while, and then offered to take me out for breakfast. A couple of hours later I was dropped back home, having eaten during the day for the first time in months, having had the nurse proactively try to get some problems sorted for me even though it’s the weekend, having had my thoughts challenged by someone I trust, having been made to feel like I was a human who was cared about – not just an unwell, suicidal mental health patient of no value and no hope. We made a plan for my ongoing evening phone support and care package to continue as well as that same nurse coming to see me and potentially take me out again tomorrow (or today now, I suppose!).
I am blown away to have received such appropriate, timely and caring responses from a team who is not just stretched but who I don’t have the best record with.
Together, we have worked hard to overcome numerous issues surrounding my treatment and I am incredibly impressed with the changes that have been made and the care I have been shown these past few weeks. I’m so grateful to the manager and the individual team members for their professionalism: taking everything on board, recognising need despite logistical/bureaucratic/previous issues, responding appropriately to crisis and distress, and acting with true humanity.
And I’m also kind of proud of myself for being able to put the past behind me and working with staff to overcome issues, despite bad experiences, anxiety and intense fear of asking for/accepting help.
This is how crisis care in mental health should work.