Sunday, 2 September 2018

WHY A SUPPORT NETWORK IS A MUST-HAVE IN A MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS


As you’ll have seen in my previous post, I recently had a mental health crisis and I had a rough night last night, so the Crisis Team came out and one of the things they said that really stuck with me was: ‘let’s get you back to a place when you can be giving people amazing advice again.’ And I had a look through my blog and wondered whether I’ve done that a lot recently? Given advice, I mean. So, I thought that almost a week after my crisis, maybe now is the best time to let people know exactly what has gotten me through.


I think it’s important that people learn for themselves what helps them to get through difficult moments, so this post is just a guide and an illustration on how and why these things help me. If you read this and you think ‘I don’t have that’ then please see your GP, speak to a professional, a friend or a family member.

As everyone knows, mental health crisis isn’t isolated to office hours. They don’t always happen between 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday. Sometimes it’s four o’clock Saturday morning. Sometimes it’s a Bank Holiday. Which is why it’s important that you have several phone numbers or contact details for services and organizations that offer support both during, and out of, office hours.

In mental health, it can be challenging to find the right service for you and your difficulties. Different things work for different people. You’re met by different responses with the different services and organizations you turn to and whilst it’s frustrating to come to terms with there not being consistency, it’s also a beneficial illustration that different professionals are good at different things. Some Services are best during a crisis, where others are more appropriate in long-term care. Some professionals are good at talking through problems and others are good at doing something about them.

 

Essential Numbers:

Your GP

A local Pharmacy

Emergency Services



Your local Community Mental Health Team

Your local Crisis Resolution Home Treatment Team

Others e.g. Samaritans, Childline etc.



Nine years later and I’m still learning who to go to and when to go to them. There are times when I’m struggling, and it’d be best for me to ring my Mum. Then there’s times when I feel unsafe and I need to be ringing the Crisis Team.

For a long time, mental health services in my county were – to put it bluntly – useless when it came to Personality Disorders and there were times when it felt like I had no one to turn to because it felt like no one knew what they were doing.

Nowadays though, Services for people with Personality Disorders have greatly improved and professionals recognize the importance of the unique impact their reactions and responses can have on someone with a Personality Disorder. GPs are learning that medication isn’t always the answer. Paramedics are finding out the importance of their response times in a mental health crisis. Police are realizing that just talking to someone can be the difference between co-operation and restraint. A&E staff are seeing that whilst their waiting times are enormous, a bit of time and patience can help a person open up about their experiences.

But it’s not all about the professionals! A support network can include family and friends too! My Mum has always been my one constant in my mental health and the greatest support I could ask for and a lot of the time she is enough to get me through. But my best-friends offer me something different; Sophie, Lauren, Ellie… they all give me something different when I’m struggling with my mental health. Sophie makes me laugh, Lauren listens, and Ellie helps me to explore it.

My support system also reaches the people that I work with. Of course, it’s helpful that I work in the mental health field! But there are work places all over the world that are filled with lovely, kind, and caring people. My colleagues provide me with confidence and distraction in a mental health crisis – they believe in me and my ability to come through it whilst trusting me with some incredible responsibilities that it’s an honour to undertake.

I’m incredibly lucky to have so many people around me and whilst it’s hard to show appreciation during a mental health crisis, I try to make sure they know that I do, once it’s over.