RE: Lack of Crisis Home and specialised unit for patients detained under section 136 of the Mental Health Act
I write, not as a letter of complaint, but of one despair and hope. I write with honesty about me, my illness and my need for resources to be improved, not only for me, but for all other patients who have had to endure stigma, discrimination and a lack of understanding from those who have not been educated in how to manage those with mental health illness.
On the ******* I was *****. I was picked up by a Police patrol car and taken to ********* Police Station.I was naked and was given a blue paper outfit to wear At this point it was decided by the Police Officers, that I needed to be psychologically assessed to determine whether or not I was fit to consent to be forensically examined for evidence of the alleged ****. This took the whole day, being moved first to ************* Police Station, where I was told I could not be seen as I would contaminate evidence as the accused was being held in custody. I was then taken to ********* Hospital, where I sat in a room with several Psychiatrists, a social worker, a student nurse, and two SOLO officers to determine whether or not I was competent. This took most of the day. At ten o'clock I was taken from the ward, out through the public entrance. During this time, wearing only the blue paper suit, which stank of the accused and what he had done ( I was physically sick throughout the day because of the smell), I was taken in and out of the Hospital by uniformed officers, through the public waiting area. The Officers were uniformed and I felt as those watching us walk though could only consider that I was under arrest, or in some kind of trouble with the Police. I was taken to the forensic examination room across the other side ofthe city and was intimately examined. Afterwards, though they had spent all day ascertaining that I was suffering from severe and enduring mental illness symptoms of which are self harm and alcoholism, I was dropped back to my flat where I live alone. I will not explain to you what happened next, as there is only so much you need to know about my self hate and torture, but lets just accept it wasn't nice. I should have been dropped to a crisis house. The majority of major cities have crisis houses where people like myself, who are a danger to themselves are looked after during crisis, rather than being admitted to a general psychiatric ward.
On the night of the ********I I was visited by a Police Officer, she was there as I was not answering my phone, and someonewith a super sized ego thought I must be dead if I didn't answer his phone call, but I just wanted an evening to myself, not to talk to anyone. However, when the Officer saw the cuts to my arms and legs, she called for a Sergeant to attend. When I went outside for a cigarette, I was detained under section 136 of the Mental Health Act. I was taken to ************* Police Station. I was put into a cell, stripped of my clothing and had a scanner ran over my body. The scanner picked up metal in my hips, legs and ankle. I explained that I had had titanium implants in these areas, the surgical scars are still obvious, they they then felt it necessary to internally examine me both vaginally and rectally. I was kept in a cell for five hours. Eventually I was seen by a psychiatrist who had access to my care plan and I was allowed to leave.
People who are detained under this section of the Mental Health Act, should not be kept in a Police cell. The unit for section 136 must be reopened immediately. I understand it has been closed due to financial cut backs, but these financial cut backs may be the reason, or may already be a reason for a person taking their own lives. My symptoms have now escalated to the point where my psychiatrist is phoning me daily, my medications have been increased, and we are looking at me having to be an inpatient at the Priory as the local psychiatric hospital would be too traumatic for me. I have no complaint with the secondary mental health team, they are second to none. I have amazing care from my psychiatrist, My CPN is brilliant and visits me at least weekly, the Gateway to Mental Health service is consistently helpful. But they cannot do their jobs effectively whilst there are these lack of resources.
I have many ideas, how we could get these resources in place, but can no longer write, it is all a bit traumatic and raw to write anymore. But I will send you my phone number, please lets make an arrangement to meet so we can discuss this further.
PS. Odd how the logo has crossed fingers, this shouldn't be about luck, it should be about human rights