I was with this service called ACE for a while, they basically arrange activities for you to do during your spare time if you have a mental health problem with no work. A lot of their activities I’m doing are with MIND, a charity organisation that work with mentally ill people, I did a fundraiser for them a couple of months back (I have the shirt to prove it, literally)
Today was my first proper session with MIND and we had a university student come in and ask for our help with an app he wanted to create to help people with mental illness. I was the youngest of the group and the others were at least 10 years older than me and more so they didn’t entirely get what apps are but I found myself speaking up a lot more than I thought I would considering I was new and the youngest. I was talking to the student about apps I’ve tried and gave him suggestions based on what I know of my generation and social media.
We also all got into a discussion about mental health services, hospitals, medications etc. The older people were interested in what I had to say and honestly from what they told me about the very little help they got a few years back, services have improved at least a little; It’s still a mess though, at least here in the UK it is. I remember before I went to hospital for my treatment I was very stuck, I was at too high risk for a service called Wellbeing that my GP counsellor referred me to because he wasn’t qualified enough to deal with my trauma and BPD but I was at too low risk to get help from the crisis team.
The Crisis Team… Where do I start with them? as soon as I mentioned them there were groans from my fellow service users, everyone in the UK with a severe mental health problem has likely had to deal with the crisis team, I have multiple times. I’ve had visits from really nice team members but it doesn’t stop the system from being absolute garbage; they treat mental illness like a joke and don’t really take the people they are supposed to be helping seriously. I remember the first time I dealt with them and I had an assessment by an arrogant prick who thought he knew everything and clearly hadn’t listened to me; I told him that my sister has severe autism to the point where she can’t hold a conversation with you and I was telling him that I found that hard to deal with as at the time we were fighting a lot physically (because she can’t communicate properly verbally) and yet what advice does he give me? “Go home and talk to your sister” I could have flipped the coffee table that was separating us and punched him in his smug stupid face.
That wasn’t all, another one I remember was that I was so low that I was disassociating and giving up on life, I didn’t know where I was going or what the point of going on at all was and the crisis team assessor (different one this time, that’s also a thing, you get a different person with different opinions, approaches and personalities practically every time you’re visited) what she said to me was “What do you want me to do?”honestly it sounded like she was just as helpless as I was which was not what I needed. Like I said there were some good ones but they didn’t stick around long; saw them once, maybe twice out of all the times I had the crisis team visit me. Overall the whole group could agree that the crisis team is shit; I’d rather go back to the hospital than deal with them.
Anyway, rant over, the student will be coming back next week to get our stories and ideas, I look forward to it 🙂 As someone so young (18) in the generation where technology is basically your life and apps are downloaded as much as a stamp collector collects stamps combined with my passion for mental health, I’m more than happy to help with his project.