Me and My Mental Health Story

Hi... I'm Chloe, I'm 18 years old and I'm from the UK

I used to love playing football and multiple sports. I say used too... When I was 13 or 14, everything changed for me, but life went on as normal. Well from the outside it would have seemed normal, but for me, it was far from it.

Mental Health is something that is extremely stigmatised in the UK and across the world. This is my ongoing battle with mental health and what my experience of being in the UK mental health system is like. Everyone's experiences are different... but here's my story.

**TRIGGER WARNING**

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8. Me and A&E

I have spent so much time in A&E over the course of my life for breaking bones and childhood accidents - but never for my mental health (other than the two suicide attempts - but they didn't know they were attempts).

I went for the first time in August 2016, feeling extremely suicidal and at risk. I had already cut quite deeply and if I had gone home I would have certainly overdosed. One of the triage nurses saw me quite quickly, cleaned my arm up and asked me about how I was feeling. I could tell she was judging me and was making me feel really uncomfortable. I went through into one of the cubicles in A&E where they put me on suicide watch. I was sat in there for a good few hours, with two of the nurses coming in and talking to me, trying to distract me from what was going through my head. However, the longer I was in there, the more distressed I was getting... and I had a blade on me. I was meant to leave the door open so they could keep an eye on me easily, but I shut it anyway. I cut. One of the nurses came back to check on me and noticed my arm was bleeding again. I didn't tell her they were fresh. She bandaged them up and left me to it again.

It had been about half an hour since I had cut and once again I was getting agitated and distressed. The voices were horrendous and I couldn't stop thinking about killing myself. Since they hadn't noticed the blade I took the opportunity to cut again - this time higher up my arm (because of the bandage). As the other nurse checked on me again, he noticed my arm bleeding. He came in, cleaned it up and put a dressing on it. He went and got the other nurse who came and started asking if I had a blade on me, to which I obviously said no. She kept questioning me on it so I eventually gave in and showed her the blade. She tried to take it off me but I was adamant I wasn't going to give it too her. Security ended up having to come up and take it off me.

It was at about 3.30 in the morning (I went in at about 10pm) I was seen by one of the doctors. He asked me some questions about my mental health and asked if I wanted to see the RAID team (the in hospital mental health team) to which I said yes. After another hours wait they came down to see me. They asked all the usual questions about how I was feeling, how safe I felt and what was happening with CAMHS. I had been there 6 hours so was tired, I bullshitted my way through the questions and they let me go home.

So it had been six days since I was first in and I was back again for the same reasons. I didn't know what to do or who to turn to, so A&E kinda became my go to place in a way. They pretty much did the same as last time (except I didn't cut whilst I was there). I was seen by the mental health team a lot quicker than before and they asked more questions than the previous time. I explained that I was confused about what was happening between CAMHS and IAPT, which service I was with and what was happening. I told them about my previous attempts, the self harm and the voices, it was the most concerned a professional had seemed about me.

I was kept in a room at the end of the corridor so it was easy for them to keep an eye on me whilst the RAID person was discussing what he needed to do with the nurses since CAMHS wouldn't come out at 4am. I was scared about what was going to happen. He came in and told me he wanted to keep me in hospital over the weekend since CAMHS were refusing to come out and he thought I was a high risk danger to myself.  He left me alone to think about it for a while but in reality I was sat there convincing myself that I didn't need any help at all. I thought I was fine. The hospital eventually had to call my parents because of them not knowing where I was and the reason I was in.

He came back in and spoke to me again about being kept in and I was adamant I wasn't going too. He started saying that if my parents agree to make me stay in I'll be put on a Section 136 under the Mental Health Act. My parents got to the hospital at about 6.30/7am just as it was shift change over. At around 10am, two different people from the RAID team came down to discuss what had happened and reiterated the fact that they wanted me to stay in because of my risk. Fortunately (I think), as I had an appointment with my psychiatrist on the Monday, my mum agreed that I was able to go home as long as we go straight back to A&E or to the Psych Unit if there were any problems.

(Note - the hospital is like a 5 minute walk from my house and an Adult Psychiatric Unit is a 2 minute walk in the other direction)

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