Seems DHB's are in the firing line and rightly so. Their Mental Health units are under fire in some regions and with good cause. Coroner Gary Evans speaks out.
The Hutt Valley DHB is indicative of a lot of Public Healthcare providers and it's something that permeates right through our health system. The lack of proper care. Now remember that Care word. I think if you were admitted to any other ward in the hospital the nurses would at least know your name and provide a modicum of care. So why do Mental Health wards differ? Well supposedly for one, patients are called clients. Want to know the difference why? Well basically patients are bed ridden (and very little threat) and clients are mobile (a possible threat). So accordingly staff treat their people in differing ways.
So what about this suicide stigma? In a previous blog on suicide I wrote about DHB's and their roles in the burgeoning suicide rate. There seems to be an inherent issue in not only not taking at risk folks in, but releasing other at risk folks too early (the bed shuffle accounting). Simply put, there just isn't enough beds to cover adequate care in the hospital. And it's fair to say that reinventing The Bins is not an option. So what is the answer?
Well covered it really, lack of beds, lack of adequate and caring staff, lack of follow up resources. Remember, counselling is not readily handed out as a course of post care action. In fact from experience the short answer from Mental Healt is "Here is the Crisis number, only ring it if urgent".So how does a client know when it is urgent? Most depressives sink so low even going near a phone is difficult. And manics are so high they use telepathy to contact their psychiatrist. Both just don't work, but if there was a weekly visit by a Community Mental Health nurse then things would no doubt be different. Get to know your clients, get to know their moods, get to know when intervention is required.
As for suicidal folks, if the general populace has no faith in mental health services then it is fair to say the rate will increase. I know one lovely lady who has a lot of suicidal thoughts and at times oppress her life. Even when she took pills and a bottle of alcohol, they discharged her from Crisis. All the poor lady needed was a caring kind hand, a time in a ward to get her mind sorted, and discharged knowing she was no longer a risk to herself. But there seems to be stigma attached to DHB Mental health services. Those with suicidal tendencies are a plague and if we put them on the ward they'd infect the others there. My mate Kenneth tried to hang himsle ftwice in our carport, twice me and my flatmate cut him down and saved his life - twice. Twice he was taken by the Police to HNU, assessed and sent home the same night. Three months later a train driver suffered too. Mid Central Health, you have blood on your hands. Maybe if culpability could be proved, then someone in a Mental Health Ward should be charged with Manslaughter?
Yes that would be great. If psychiatrists knew they could be held responsible for someones self death then maybe they'd change the way they look at their job. Of course, yes, if that happened no one would want to be a psyche doc. So why should a train driver be left to suffer?