It’s coming up to 2 years since I will have sadly lost my brother to a preventable suicide in Mental Health Supported Transitional Housing after been allowed to fall through the cracks an not put on any care Pathway by the Mental Health Trust he was under and passed between them and Adult Social Care. I’ve tried fighting for answers challenging the system and asking why, How could they ignore the signs, ignore his pleas were was his Duty of Care. I’ve been dipping in an out of NHS Englands Learning From Deaths work and the team leading they are trying but just like us Families I think they’re up against it too. How do you change an archaic driven system,. Today I was invited to a 1 hour meeting with the department of health and was speaking on 4 areas that need addressing and helping push the guidance through that families put their blood sweat an tears into, my mum an I we too put ours. Today I was focusing on the legal power imbalances families face in fight for answers and the hurdles we have accessing our loved ones records an when u get its only a half story an leaves you with even more questions and thing today I let some of the frustrations feel come out an do normally try hold it together thing seeing my loved ones and loved ones of fellow families made me want demand answers as to us after that meeting we don’t go home forget about, put to bed let something reprioritise it because we have the stark reminder someone is missing, for many it’s their child and they’re robbed of seeing them grow, get married, achieve their dreams an them one day get married an families of own, With Tim I’ve been robbed of my best friend we was like two peas in a pod he was the one who guided me though some of my darkest moments an their at my proudest looking at his photo in that meeting hit me wanted scream you all murdered my brother your systems, processes and pathways are harming not helping in our fight one thing we hear regularly is “failure in breakdowns in communication ” a gp can’t see Paris and record on it the NHS can’t see the gps system one and record and that and the grey area duty of candour is not assisting an a hinderance is the grey area of confidentiality an record sharing or in Tims case not record sharing and when you add local council record keeping an the supported living recording system it’s no wonder tim, us as a family an his navigator was hitting brick walls. Failure in communication is not an acceptable answer to why someone is driven too take their own live, before the meeting I was chatting with my sister on how we feel about Tims death an we want to be angry with him but we understand he wasn’t ok an today I needed let some of that anger an frustration how dare they say computer said no surely that should be something can change. Telling Tims story an where we are at with the inquest process is frustrating we’re gridlocked an at a standstill because we’re going through a judicial review because sadly the coroner is listening to two sides an not the side that matters us that matters the family. If my brother’s death had been in hospital we’d have been granted a Article 2 enquiry automatically if was a NHS run supported living would have done but because Social Care the coroner’s using the grey area death in community. I told them today if we lose the review we lose all legal representation and aid and have to fight for answers alone and that many families met recently had represent themselves an that any requests had were denied and so outcomes didn’t go in their favour they didn’t get their answers and left now fighting that bit more yet the evidence was clear for all to see, I told them I should be grieving my brother but I don’t I’m my families advocate I review, critique try put the jigsaw puzzle together and find the solutions to the failings an that’s not fair it’s left me physically an mentally battered and been offered no support by those who failed him apart from a token book coping with death of a loved one to suicide I don’t want to cope with his death I want him in my life I want to know no other family will feel my pain and it’s hard to gage did they listen, take note will things be done and implemented an changed the people in room today can’t expect us to be patient in our quests, can’t expect us be fobbed off to us they’res too much at stake, we just want openness, truth an accountability we need to grieve to mourn, to try lead lives without those we love as hard as it is it’s not fair be gridlocked no we’re further nor nearer to those answers an solutions because whilst we’re gridlocked we add to the growing number of historical cases my family we’re only short way in and we’ve one long road tred but if today taught me anything the fight will get harder, will break me that bit more but it’s not a fight will walk away from Tim deserved so much more and so did the family’s lost loved ones because I’m not going away harmed patients an families too won’t go away because we broke the day our loved ones died you can’t break us anymore so you might as well help us piece ourselves back together let me grieve an mourn let me free my brother’s memory free not keep having air his broken story give us the truth it’s time he had dignity in death let me dream he’s know free with my daughter in heaven I want to let him go and let him be free my family need free ourselves to off our pain an anger. X x
Today I thought I was looking forward to today’s service User Carer meeting with the Royal College of Psychiatry we was looking at Care Navigators and what a good one looked like, I was all psyched tell them about Tims Navigator Gary Wright the one who went above and beyond for Tim the one who did everything for him the one who services let do everything for Tim but never checked in on was everything ok, never got back to Gary when he had concerns, Gary helped Tim with many aspects of his life even tried addressing Tims mental health needs. Tim was only meant to have Tim on his books for a few weeks but he knew Tim needed intensive support an was not getting from statutory services. I was all excited to share some of the good out of the sadness I tweeted, fb an linked in an update and a pic of Gary with my mum in his fun run tshirt he did a 10k for Wyfi an ran in memory of Tim. But the closer the train got to kings cross did overwhelm swallow me up, I became over stimulated, hyper sensitive walking down to the Royal college of Psychiatry after getting of the tram felt like walking down a minefield the noises of passing traffic, work on nearby buildings, footsteps pounding down the street felt super sonic my mind went into a haze, mentally shutting off, instincts saying can’t engage today I’d triggered myself consciously I thought talking about wyfi been a good organisation would be ok but subconsciously I was challenging why other organisations that came into contact with Tim didn’t do same, i was winding myself up. When I arrived I saw the slide on what we’d be discussing I sat in my seat eyes fixated on the screen I got this but boom tidal wave hit floor was swallowing me up, hands face burning, dry mouth, knees buckling, heart pounding I had get up, I had flee, I made a coffee got upset wiped myself down berated myself I went back in I tried inputting, sharing ideas but everything felt amplified an that made me feel trapped in , hemmed in, panicked which then makes me reactive I know a good navigator why could I not get my points across with going into overwhelm felt not listened to felt I was fighting for something good I felt challenged but probably wasn’t, Care Navigators though I passionately believe in, I know what I’d want in one, I know the type of relationship we’d have I know how I’d want them engage with me, my family an all areas of my life the physical, mental an social but today just not on ball. One of members of group gave me a cuddle I broke its hard fighting for good, it’s hard engage with services it’s even hard engaging when at an engagement meeting. It’s hard though things regarding Tims inquest been know at a standstill and it weighing heavy in my thoughts an heart and today threw me off my A game I’m hoping sharing the slide someone could answer the questions on to them what they’d want a navigator look like because I’ve completely disengaged as I no longer trust the model or service or that they’d get right hoping people can though get their voices heard an I’ll happily forward your thoughts to team an you help me to try focus an be engaged whilst am a little wobbly today taught me need practice self care when engaging in engagement work and trying fight to make change an fighting for answers for tim my brother an best friend. Today wasn’t a good day but won’t let it sway me I’ll brush myself off and try again another day
I’m laid in the dark feeling nervous, anxious sick to my stomach my baby sleeping next to me, my baby been my 4 year old son. Either at Midnight or sometime tomorrow my baby will get his email confirming his school place. At first I was only anxious would we get our first choice, then it was anxious would he adjust going full time Monday to Friday, then when nursery started introducing homework as part of getting school ready that anxiety hit is Myles school ready then I had the excitement ooh I’ll have all this extra time can look at having my life an identity back try have a career but then hit with the stark sadness an anxiety crap am going to have all this time an how am I gonna fit in Myles have so many different expereiences us doing stuff together time will be drastically confined to weekends an soon the school holidays. Myles has grown to quick times gone too fast the Milestones are forced stages of transition, times forcing me to face up to he’s no longer a baby, nor infant nor toddler I’m not ready for the next stages I want to keep him as my baby for longer. Stomachs knotting, twisting heart beating ten to dozen, palms sweating, fear, panic, kicking in one email changes everything, one email don’t think actually want to open, one email don’t want to be one that forces the realisation Myles school is which equals Myles is a baby no more don’t want fell that sadness, that feeling of loss that comes with the next stage an Milestone. That emails also the stark reminder of a moment a milestone never had with Marybeth it’s a stark reminder of a moment missed out on with her. I wonder what would happen if I didn’t open, didn’t acknowledge would it go away could I keep Myles as an infant, baby, toddler a little longer, I wonder if Myles is aware an understands the process of been ready for school it would make the anxieties easier manage if he was able say Mum I’m ready it’s time but he’s only 4 an that’s a big ask of a 4 year old say Mum I’m ready for my next Milestone, next chapter in my journey, I’m ready mum for school, I’m picturing though me wanting shout but Mummy’s not ready just yet can we not just keep you are just a little longer an us choose when ready for Myles next Milestone because how do I cope, how do I let my little boy grow up x x
Your home is Your Castle, Your Sanctuary the place you grow, make memories in it’s your dwelling, your abode, your place of safety and refuge, my hope it’s old it’s worn needs some tender loving care I moan about it my sons picked up I call it a shanties ramshackle house when I’m having a rant day so he now calls it old house wants a new house. At the same time though am lucky because this ramshackle house is my home. My brother Tim he sadly died not knowing or having that he obsessed got into vicious cycle fearing he’d be made homeless again when he died he was at a place called Cottingley Court, it was Transitional Housing for vulnerable adults affected by homelessness, addiction, and mental health he’d stayed their at crisis then he moved in to one of their flats to be assessed to determine what support he needed he was to be their at least a minimum of 6 months could have stayed up to 2 years and if warranted longer or moved to somewhere that could have offered permanent support. Tim in his mind didn’t feel safe, didn’t feel settled couldn’t make roots or settle because it wasn’t made clear he wasn’t to be made homeless wasn’t no plan no where definitive said this is your home. He once posted on his Facebook shortly after moving to cottingley court “I’m allowed Visitors” that dosent really say he saw as his home it says he saw as been in more of a inpatient or Care home, “I’m allowed visitors ” reading back is heartbreaking read I try putting myself in his shoes imagine the confusion he felt an tears run down my cheek all he wanted was one thing I moan about a place to call home, a home where he made rules a home that he opened up to his friends an family not somewhere dictated by guidelines to follow I.e no visitors after certain times cottingley court they advised offered crisis support but they didn’t an if we knew Tim was desperately struggling we’d have offered to stay with him help him make feel like his home we’d have him making the bacon butties with a brew he used make a decent buttie. He shouldn’t have resorted to drastic action he took when reaching out for help an reassurance he died broken, lost, isolated and desolate in a place that was supposed to be his home. 2 days before he died he spoke his fears with his GP, his GP just listened an made him tea an biscuits, tea an biscuits is what us his family should have been having at his house when visiting or should I say a coffee as where all coffee drinkers in our family we don’t offer visitors coffee we ask them make us a coffee, help themselves to whatever open our homes up sad ain’t it my brother’s gp could only help by make a cup of tea an biscuits an for a brief moment tim will have felt the sensation , feeling like home, Why couldn’t cottingley court give him that sensation help him realise was home , reassure him wasn’t to be homeless , give him the support an care he needed an why moved their in first place, why didn’t they keep him safe, protect him they were supposed to why did he not feel safe, why did he die feeling like didn’t have a place called home it’s not much ask is it have a place that’s yours an call home.
Facebook can and can’t be great when overcoming the loss of a loved one, On this day sometimes will have a happy reminder a memory a photo, tagged a conversation had and they’ll put a smile on your face, Other days you may get a On thus day reminder that brings a lump too your throat a tear to your eye one wish could erase, one wish could reply too, one if went back in time you could change your attitudes an actions too. 2 years ago today Tim you left a Facebook Message for Mum on my wall saying I’m Sorry and what you we’re Sorry for you weren’t entirely to blame it was Nanna an Grandads Anniversary do you we’re so excited about also very anxious about you we’re struggling with grips of your demons with Mental Health, battling recovery finding your feet. Me, Jay Nat an Robynn holding you at arms lengths constantly judging you stereotyping you we’re probably guilty of been a bit cold, standoffish we were more concerned Nanna an Grandad had a great do than checking you we’re ok. You we’re been bought drink after drink we should have told you Tim enough we didn’t we assumed you’ld been on something not just the drink., I should have remembered alcohol can counteract medications your own and how you were that day was a result of that and not stereotyped you for being on something as it’s only since your death we’d been made aware you were drug free had been a good 10 months so on this day 2 years ago you weren’t on something and when u got loud an Merry with the drink we should have stayed, ensured you got home but we didn’t we left when Nanna an Grandad did you stayed with family an one of neighbours of mum an Nanna’s street they got you drink after drink took you on to another pub somehow u ended up outside mums caused some disruption with your loudness somehow got bundled back into a taxi home you must have gone on fb said I’m sorry Mum on my fb you knew she’d see it their or I’d comment but I sadly didn’t I was stewing with you, I’d judged you assumed you at fault questioned how many more chances we should give an like a child I ignored you didn’t reply an today your on this day post came up an it cut me up because didn’t thing what made harder see was we’d had a meeting with the NHS they’d took into consideration that you we’re off substances an we’re going acknowledge in your report we asked also that staff attitudes that were stigmatising towards those with both mental health and substance misuse be addressed I.E Judgement Free Care because we owed it to you that changed also it was to recognise that you wasn’t the person who’d been wrote off and should have been supported an it recognised the efforts of your recovery journey so Today’s On This Day Today I too was guilty of that behaviour an stereotyped you unfairly I should have stepped up, stepped in cared for your wellbeing not judged or assumed anything about your behaviour should have got u come back to Bradford stayed over a Chinese and you’ld not have had to felt apologise as you’ld have been with us as that event would never of happened outside Mum’s. We’ve a still a long way in finding out the answers why To failings in your care and things be changed but glad today we made one small step they recognised you weren’t on drugs and hadn’t be for awhile I hope in heaven it goes towards me saying Tim I’m Sorry Too and I wish could turn back the clock but know what know now and changed the course of your future thought for you as much do now, believed in you better and pushed for better treatment an care challenged not just professionals towards you but ours too and gave you the love and care you so desperately needed and made you feel worthy and built you up if done that you wouldn’t have felt in end way you did an you wouldn’t have done what you did on that fateful day on the 26th August an you’ld still be here and so Tim Im sorry I too made you feel way did an wish I didn’t have unfairly judged you because you Tim you never did that and in when I too had my own blips you never judged or shunned or stereotyped me you did what we should have done we should have looked out better for you maybe on this day today next year am optimistic we’ll get the answers, lessons will have been learned an my sorry back to you I’ll feel able write but for now I’ll share the comment on my blog an say Tim I’m Sorry Too an I love you always and 4 eva and you know saturdays an extra hard day 4 me an so I hope u can give my princess a kiss and both be with me in spirit x
This last week I’ve heard you say the words ” I can’t ” an a thought bubble in my head pops up ” no such word as can’t “, I never say verbally I coax you , I guide you , I help you with what your struggling with an I tell you how proud ” I am ” learning to count, dress yourself an put your coat on by yourself are big things to do when your 4 and something we have work on as I know in September when you go into full time school be expected to do an I don’t want you feel scared or under pressure or even laughed at if can’t do because sadly children don’t mean be cruel but can be but I’ll do whatever I can make it a smooth transition for you because mummy can’t come school an fight your corner like I do now,
As you’ll get older and grow you’ll be compared to others based on how u look, your weight, the clothes you were, your in status an even on your sexuality but at 4 that’s not something thing off right now but all you need know is that I your mum will always be proud, I will always thing your perfect , I will always thing your amazing.
I’ve noticed that people already have started comparing you to others picture you as a naughty child one who needs boundaries because you are loud, have ants in your pants and don’t sit still and have to be a mini tornado, to me I don’t curb that I don’t tell you be silent because I see it’s a gift your excited about the world, the people an places we see your growing your identity an building up your confidence an who am I too halt that my jobs to nurture you, build you up , I see your loudness to as a positive one of things I love about you.
From a young age through the bereavements we’ve faced you from a young age had an understanding for pain, for sadness a natural gift for compassion something as adults an life’s pressures we forget how to be compassionate you understood and knew Mummy was sad in your own way I think you was trying ask for help for me when you told people mummy was sad and I did feel guilty you sensed that because as your mum I want protect you from all lives heartaches but sadly I’ve to accept I can’t.
Last week you faced your first experience of heartache and able share your best friend was not your best friend he wanted to play with someone else an sadly the someone else was the girl in your class who you class as your girlfriend the little girl who’s hand you hold on the bus and who u like to share your sweets an walk into school with I’d like thing I handled the situation ok told you it’s ok they’re still your friends they’re giving u a chance make more new friends as at 4 I don’t want you to understand the pain of exclusion or to see so I hope I handled well and made u feel ok.
This sadly is the first of many relationships an break ups you’lll experience but was secretly relieved when we bumped into your best friend at the shops an he rushed to you to say hello and couldn’t wait to see you at school so you could both play as he’d put a smile back on your face.
I’m waffling now so I’ll stop I just wanted to write this blog an dedicate this blog for you for children’s mental health week to let you know I love you, I will nurture an support you an whenever u need am always here an don’t ever thing am not because whatever u face u can always count on me to be their and can come to me with anything x x
Do patient leaders, experts by experience really make a difference are we really valued or are we just another resource a tick box they can fill in completed on an equality check monitoring form. In May 2011 I had my own transformation my year of recovery I came of quite a lot of antipsychotic meds, stopped been zombified and learnt to feel emotion. I took control of my conditions I come to understand my head was not broken it was coming to terms with things I’d faced childhood abuse, losing a child born stillborn I got involved with supporting local an national mental health based charities an became a health champion, I spoke at NHS England an Kings Fund Events a top professor once quoted something I’d said today we’ve heard the word baby steps and the impact on recovery an tackling health inequalities an that with work they were doing they’d taken theirs an we’re then gonna take their steps, with Kings fund I challenged that people that volunteer are not exploited it’s our choice to do we have our own reasons for doing so, but doing none of those things mattered when I had my son I was still as seen as the person who’ll once had chronic an enduring mental health conditions an was sadly detained to the maternity department an risk assessed to prove I wasn’t mentally unwell anymore or a potential risk to my child. My brother Tim he became mentally unwell I knew the system was once were I was held was once were I was broken but too thought recovered from and I tried fight for his needs, fight for him get support begged for rehab for him, when in court in an unfit state tried ringing around finding him somewhere that could support him but failed an he did a short stint in prison when came out tried to get him help then too sadly believed services had changed but sadly I learned lives harsh realities they hadn’t an systemic failures ultimately led to my brother’s death again I’ve come out fighting trying get lessons from his death be learned from but I’m not an expert by experience or patient leader nor service User or Carer I’m someone’s sister, I’m the sister of someone who died too soon who had so much to give, to offer a live worth saving, I knock know on the doors of places not because I profess to be an expert or leader or voice for the vulnerable but be the voice of someone who wasn’t heard that someone were lessons could be learned from his death too could save lives but sadly his voice his story is one people not ready or hear or address because substance misuse, mental health an Deaths in community are not priority or high up on any radar or agenda an no mo or head of state interested in because not something they can use to boost their egos an popularity and so I sit and ask myself are we really valued and if are then why is it that still get treated as person once was, in kid gloves, their their your story was inspiring one need be heard but yet no one takes chance to work together with you to create new ways of working, explore and fix the systemic failures, get you involved working in the areas we’re you could be utilised make a difference but then I remember I was just someone who was once labelised ive dropped it but it still be expected elsewhere, I was just someone’s sister so not a professional or expert. I’ve also come realised professionals high up still have to fight same fights we do and from Twitter these last few weeks Psychiatry an pschology will always be at odds , service users will always have fight for their rights and at times we’ll even be against each other for services to want help me it’s either from a Dx point or know understand my traumas what about plain an simple what can we do katie, Do we really as patient leaders or experts by experience make that much difference because sitting back these last few weeks and questioning I question we don’t we’re just another useable source or commodity tomorrow it will be a different bus Health and social care go journey on an will be left fighting that little bit more so what do u need do have that voice equally valued the live experiences trually grasped harnessed an sadly learned from has true coproduction been established or is it all really different stages of involvement been dressed up but the moment question I ask myself did I make a difference when I started my original objective to get change and sadly I did not because I know mourn my brother, my best friend an still fighting for change but their will come a day I’ll one day say enough is enough and that will be day when realise equality an valued working together in partnership dosent happen as it is still very much a pipe dream.