Mum calls for better mental health care
MOTHER-of-two Kate Brett has called for reforms in the care of mental health patients after being left feeling deserted, frightened and undermined while grappling with a personality disorder.
Kate, of Covingham, began flying into uncontrollable rages and experiencing overwhelming mood swings at the end of last year.
The 31-year-old had been advised to come off her epilepsy medication as the condition appeared to have subsided and she initially put the symptoms down to withdrawal from the drug.
But as the ups and downs persisted she was referred to the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Part-nership NHS Trust at Sandalwood Court. On December 28 she met a nurse who suggested she might suffer from a personality disorder. In January she was seen by a psychiatrist who told her she might be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and prescribed mood stabiliser Depakote.
But she said the medication made her feel lethargic and even more emotionally unstable.
She tried to see a psychiatrist before her set appointment on February 7 but was instead told to double her dosage. “My emotions got out of control. I would get very angry for no reason,” she said.
“I got several back to back days when I wanted to end everything. I kept ringing them asking to see the psychiatrist but they told me ‘you’re capable of dealing with it by yourself.’ “I could be five different people in the space of one conversation. And it’s still like that all the time.”
When she saw her psychiatrist on February 7 he diagnosed her with Emotional Unstable Personality and referred her to the LIFT Psychology service. But LIFT said they did not provide the type of care she had been promised.
She got in touch with staff at the early intervention services to receive care but did not find the compassion she was hoping for.
“They asked me what I was hoping to get from the service so I told them the psychiatrist said I needed one-to-one sessions,” she said. “But they gave me a list of all the things they couldn’t do and I felt stupid for asking questions. “When I asked my community psychiatric nurse what I could expect from my first meeting she said she couldn’t tell what to expect of a meeting that had not happened. “I feel really reluctant to go now. I’m actually quite scared.”
Kate has set up her own online support group Ear To Listen, allowing patients to seek comfort from each other.
“Patients need more support between appointments and we need to be taken seriously,” she said. “I feel abandoned and I’ve had to make my own support happen.”
Fellow patients can email Kate at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A spokesman for AWP Trust said: “Some of the issues outlined were brought to the attention of our Patient Advice and Liaison Service and are now being looked into. “We treat all concerns seriously and work closely with service users and their friends and family to ensure we are offering an appropriate and responsive service.”
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