The lack of NHS Mental Health Care is madness

by John Darvall

In the last few months I have met someone, fallen in love, moved home, got engaged, been forced to ‘go public’ by one of my main employers about my relationship to protect their values while totally compromising mine, lost a job I loved to my bones, again found myself in the papers for something I said that I didn’t actually mean, been the victim of some pretty shoddy journalism and, to cap it all, I been the subject of death threats.

I am now getting some counseling and support for all this. Having suffered Depression before I recognized the signs of what was beginning to creep over me again. I am paying for this support myself because I can and I don’t want to burden the NHS. There are many who can’t access or won’t get the help and support they may need because Mental Health Care in the UK is appalling.

Imagine that someone threatened to kill you, to actually kill you. In my case the individual wrote to my partners place of work and threatened to run me over, then called to say that it would happen, then wrote again and included the newspaper articles I never wanted to be in with my face burnt out implying this is what would happen to me. The police were called. They came to our home in the evening and took a statement. My partner then took the two police officers to her office and gave them what had been sent threatening me, complete with their name and address. I was left at home shocked and I had never been more scared in my life for my children, for those I love and for me too.

Later that night the police went to the individual’s home and made an arrest, finding further evidence of their intent. Within 24 hours the individual was sectioned under the Mental Health Act. A few days later another threatening phone call was made from the secure unit the individual was being held in.

Please read that last paragraph again.

For anyone to threaten another’s life and really mean it is extreme. The threats to me were not the threats or thoughts of a sound mind. It implies that they are under some form of mental distress and it’s likely they have needed some help for some time. The individual who threatened me was failed by their family, friends, society and, most worryingly of all, Mental Health Care in the NHS. How can any individual get to the point that they send threats to kill anyone and they not be protected or be offered support from their mental state?

The answer is simple. For far to long Mental Health has been the very poor relation in the NHS and it now needs serious money. Mental Health is not sexy, it’s not glamorous, there’s no money in it, it’s full of stigma and, because its not easy to ‘cure’ or diagnose, it is very easy to ignore. A broken limb or a little girl with cancer are some of the things the NHS are brilliant at. Good luck to you if you have a Mental Health problem. The reality is that one in four of us who WILL suffer with some form of Mental Health problem in our lives. We are told to ‘pull ourselves together’ get a ‘stiff upper lip’ or we just ignore it, until it all gets too much and then we do something ‘nuts’ like threatening to kill someone. Only in a crisis does the NHS help those with Mental Health problems.

My hope is that the individual who threatened to kill me is now getting all the help, support and treatment they need and have probably needed for some time. Mental Health and those who need real help must be given the support and treatment they deserve. We all need to be be more aware and do more to make this happen for those we know and love should they be in distress. You wouldn’t leave a fractured arm to fester, so why leave anyone with a fractured mind to break and potentially do something that may harm themselves or others?

Mental Health needs the real investment and respect it deserves. Nobody should ever get to the point that they threaten to kill anyone. I hope that you never suffer any form of Mental Health issue or problems with your mind because if you do the NHS is not the body fit enough to help you.

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