Friday, 21 October 2016

Dear Norfolk & Suffolk (NSFT) Mental Health Youth Team

Dear those involved within the care of vulnerable young people, I will try to be polite which occasionally will be impossible, but I will still try. First of all, you're out of special measures, congratulations, although I still have some concerns. I really have no idea how you managed to climb your way back up as I know that for myself and many others, our care has gone spiraling downhill, to the point where I am not even sure if I am classed as a service user anymore, not that it's a bad thing because I can barely even breathe in the daunting waiting room that 80 St Stephens Road offers.

"There's not enough money within mental health care", "my caseload is too much", "it's not my fault that I can only see you fortnightly and even that might not be possible" is all that I hear from the staff working within this service. "We'll put your name down for this group" they say, little do I know that they mean the group that I have already completed four rounds of. The logic within your service seems to be that very rarely will clients get an appointment, and when they do, it wont be talking about how they are feeling. Instead, a crucial hour will be wasting away whilst the service user is listening to their case manager ramble on about quite frankly some non-relevant bullshit. Do we actually look as though we care about what you did at the weekend? Do we really need to be reminded how busy your schedule is? And if you're case load is too much, then have you ever thought that maybe you are in the wrong job role?

Why do the service providers within this service think that it is fine to make the users feel insignificant and unworthy of support? There seems to be no actual help and support taking place. The service is shambles, we get told about how black and white thinking isn't rational when if you're not trying to kill yourself every day then you're not ill enough for support, and if you do try to kill yourself then you're deemed as too ill and are shoved straight into hospital. Please explain to me the logic in this. Has it not occurred to any of you that many individuals using this service could have been helped a long time ago, had the correct care been given?

Something that really bugs me, is in fact medication. You are given medication to 'trial' which has side effects of suicidal thoughts and yet over the past two years, every single time that I have requested PRN added to my medication, I am turned down because I can't become dependent on it and I need to try other therapies. That's right, other therapies. I'm not sure if these deluded doctors think that I would request medication for the sake of it when maybe if I was allowed to participate in other therapies, I wouldn't be asking in the first place.

Baring in mind that appointments are usually an hour long and that most workers will never, ever overrun. Why is it that every single appointment I attend, doesn't start until up to half an hour later than it should? It's not even like it is occasionally, it is every single time. The whole service is what my friend would refer to as a shit show. You can be crying in the waiting room, and not one worker who walks past will check if you are ok.

What really made me chuckle was when my case manager turned to me and said "What do you think you should be diagnosed with?" I am sorry but isn't that your job? How am I meant to even have the slightest idea about my diagnosis' when they seem to change on a weekly basis? So it appears that you have now moved on from constantly changing diagnosis' to telling service users to self-diagnose themselves. I don't know which is worse.

I cannot even begin to think of the amount of times that I have seriously considered discharging myself. I know that I should be grateful as there are many people still on waiting lists, but how can I be thankful for something that if anything, has only damaged me further? I know that hiding away somewhere, there are some good staff members but its not always easy finding the good out of a bad bunch.

"Sorry, they're away on annual leave." Do not get me started on annual leave. How is it even possible for these service providers to be granted this much annual leave? They seem to be away more than what they're there. "I am due to see you in two weeks but I am on leave, so it'll have to be four, maybe even six" is what they say, no word of a lie. I have gone three months patiently waiting for an appointment whilst I was at rock bottom due to everybody involved within my care suddenly being on annual leave.

Moving on to phone call support, something that every single service users within this trust must have had drilled down their ear at least once. Phone call support is very well, its a good idea, practicing phone calls despite being anxious is a really good idea so that when you're in crisis you can seek support. Yes, a fabulous idea until you leave around ten messages and you never, ever get a call back. Now, I'm not sure if this is down to the receptionists, the support workers or most likely, a mixture of both but how are we meant to seek support before using negative coping techniques if nobody ever picks up or returns the call? I am very curious to learn the answer to this because it is frankly, disgraceful. 

I don't know if anybody else is the same but I seem to go through case managers and support workers quicker than the weeks go by. A couple of years back, every time that I looked at my care plan and reviews, I would have a different case manager, some of which I have never even met.

Now, I'm all for this rule as it has gotten me out of so many assessments but when it comes to happening to others that I care about, it angers me more than anything. When an individual visits A&E for self-harm, suicide attempts etc there should be a mental health assessment, or at the very least, a chat with the on call psychiatrist. Every A&E in the country has to follow this procedure, but not in Norwich, apparently they are able to sit this one out. The majority of the times that I have been to my local, general hospital, my care team hasn't even be contacted and it has been left down to me to tell them. I'm sorry but what? Is this even legal? Not to mention that I have lost track of the amount of times that I have been to A&E for self-harm and not even been asked how I am feeling, let alone if I am in services.

And now that I have started, why not mention the ridiculous Facebook names of service providers? If we want to search you up on Facebook and find you, we will. Some service providers even go to the efforts of searching up their clients and blocking them on Facebook. Please, come on, we are all adults here.

Every single time that I am struggling, I just get told to practice mindfulness. Yes, I know that mindfulness can work, but you failed to tell me that it doesn't work for everybody and don't you think that if I have gone through the effort to contact you, that I have already tried it? I will tell you a secret, I have.

I also do not understand the logic that many workers have where they live by the decision that support will only be given if self-harming behaviours aren't occurring. Surely if we are using this destructive behaviours, then we need some support? But nope, just in case we end up 'care-seeking', that's right; care s.e.e.k.i.n.g. How ridiculous and how stupid. These workers are meant to be educated in mental health yet we are being abandoned when we need support the most?

What plays on my mind and what I want to know the most is how many deaths will it take before you realise that everybody within services are clearly there for a reason. When will service users stop being belittled and classed as insignificant? Oh wait, I know the answer. When they are dead and it is too late to do anything, but then again, you're all probably throwing a party because that is another one gone from the case load.

I really could go on for days but I am actually trying to recover and live a life and I'm not willing to put anymore time into a ramble about how fucking dreadful this service is, so awful that I often think I'd be better off without it. I also am aware that me alone expressing my opinion, is not enough to change anything. But I have written this post as mindfully as I could, not singling individuals out (which I would have loved to do), and not dropping the 'C-bomb' on anybody (again, I would have loved to do). Myself, and many others cannot express enough how grateful we are for the 'patient care and satisfaction' that we receive, which is also non-existent.

Thank-you for reading, (a ridiculously frustrated service user), Tay x


  1. I couldn't agree more with everything you've said here. I thank god im out of the services there as I moved back to Wales. But my experience was exactly like yours. It's horrendous.

  2. My daughter lives in Suffolk now but had terrible treatment from CAMHS in Braintree; was pretty much treated abusively. I am accessing the wellbeing service in Lowestoft right now, but it's taking too long. We've been homeless, and it could happen again. How either of us is still standing is unbelievable with the trauma we've both been through. I wish you well xx

  3. Couldn't agree more they only care if your going to hurt yourself and it takes to long to get a call back or at least some help

  4. Couldn't agree more they only care if your going to hurt yourself and it takes to long to get a call back or at least some help

  5. "I also do not understand the logic that many workers have where they live by the decision that support will only be given if self-harming behaviours aren't occurring."

    This is a reprehensible attitude by staff. What other illness would only be treated in the absence of symptoms? And yes, self-harm is a symptom of distress and illness.


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