Depression is horrible it’s a debilitating disease that squeases the life out of you keeps you trapped in the darkest places of your mind, takes the spirit an life out of everyday moments, in extreme cases murders those you love forces an pushes them into doing something stupid wreckless as they fight try find away out, Depression is like a prison sentence when things not too bad you get time out from like good behaviour but then smack something happens your hurled back into that darkened cell in the back of your head trapped , surrounded engulfed by misery, pain, desperation, inability cope, intense anger as you struggle and fight through. Depression isn’t just an invisible one but it’s a lonely one too people can’t see depression nor do people want or try see. People don’t spot when friends or family disappear become distant and you drop of the radar don’t stop by and ask are you ok, People don’t see past the charade the pretence that everything’s ok , people don’t see the bags under your eyes , don’t see the pain an fatique of the weight of the world crushing down on you theirs no hand of support their to help you up, no one their to lighten the load, Depression is a tormentor abuser it plays with your mind construes your thoughts makes you paranoid throws you into a spin cycle of thoughts that take over an drain you and drench’s you. Depression people don’t see nor understand people don’t get depressed your expected snap out of, move on so you pretend , you act you paint a fake picture alls ok still whilst slowly fading away into the distance life stopping for you but continually moves forwards for others you stumble n trip and sink trying keep up and I understand now why some give up because it’s tough it can get too much to keep on battling, keep on fighting, keep on trying for me I have no choice try battle an fight through because depression to is a curse it dosent disappear when you go you wherever maybe, maybe free but those you leave behind they struggle see, understand carry the weight off and depression sneakily sneaks in whilst their vulnerable and off guard it’s how it’s snuck in for me this time round pain and grief and anger at losing a loved one to a preventable suicide shrouded and engulfed me and has me trapped and I wouldn’t want pass that curse on so I’ll battle an fight with it I’ve beat it once I’ll try beat it once more the child snoozing next to me oblivious am awake at daft o’clock in the morning needs me to he’s to young to understand and see but to a point knows his Mummy’s been sad and when she’s upset thinks is his fault an asks Mummy are you my friend, the guilt of having depression then engulfs you don’t want your child seeing or sensing or feeling that so when they can’t see you try process an unravel the pain your feeling and untangle the mess inside your head be good have a pause button take a rest an break from but it’s depression it dosent make life easy. I can choose to live in hope though and hope I find away fight through and that I break through the prison of can get a hold off an my life back on track, can try find solutions, plans break through the core that’s keeping me trapped only you that is trapped by depression can break free from because people don’t see those chains wrapped round you an can’t pass you the key to release you from to all those that are battling with though we see and hopefully by speaking about people will start to see an start to help remove the chains that have kept us held and dragged back but until then know you are not alone we all at some point or time wrestle with an battle with an so you are not alone in your fight with x x x x x
On the 26th August 2016 my life as I knew it stopped, yet the world still continued to move and time did not stop, On the morning of the 26th I woke with a 101 things needed an wanted to do planned phone my sister see if she needed me go back across an see her and help sort out her housing issues, I have a big mouth an person in my family known shout and get people heard, catch up around the house , try do something fun with my son, knew I had to phone my brother Timothy check up on if he was ok as had a missed call the day before upset and pleading for help that voicemail will now forever haunt me. Even though I knew I wanted phone my brother for some reason I kept dawdling putting off when woke was telling myself will do but first Katie need sort Myles. Whilst Myles managed was having his breakfast I thought I’d take 5 have my coffee then phone Tim my mobile rang it was my Nanna’s number that came up for a moment before answering in my heart I prayed my grandad was ok as part of me thought she was phoning about him. Nothing could prepare me for me for what she said I won’t fully divulge the full details but enough just to say my brother had taken his own life, I’m not sure if was because didn’t hear her say first time or because zoned out to what she was saying or stupidly didn’t know how respond to but I had to ask her repeat what she said the first time and it was then in that moment that instant I knew my brother an best friend had gone an From that moment on life changed for a long time for me life has stopped even though is moving around past me but me for me the world stopped that day as I’ve not wanted move on nor ready to I struggle accept Tim’s gone not ready face that harsh reality an reality of why I convince myself he’s busy he’s happy but he’s ok I suppose they’re the things I like believe he has found in Heaven. I don’t view my friendships, my relationships in the same way as I used to I don’t seem bothered for idle gossip, coffee an play date catch ups and selfishly no interest in other people’s life’s as am purely focused now on protecting my own little family unit an that of my immediate family my mum, my brother, my sisters an our children I feel I owe it them play big bro and big sis and I owe it Tim to keep his memory alive. We don’t call the actions Tim took as Suicide as we see it his death could have been prevented the 21/2 years leading up to that date showed my brother’s fight for Recovery to be him again he reached out so many times asking for help us as a family did too spent many a night with him in a and e as did the local police force taking him down to be assessed but time and time again even when free from still ignored his Mental Health needs and blamed the drugs or the things he was obsessing over and paranoid about were social matters and couldn’t help yes you could because they’d took over his Mental Functioning he became tormented by a doll that he first thought was his protector but then it took hold an control it spoke to him, bullied him and controlled him to point morphed into that persona but apparently that too got overlooked he engaged with volunteering wanted go back to work, wanted a place call home, wanted feel human again most importantly he wanted be Tim again an he did fight so hard to have that but sadly he became to dependant on one key worker and probably dependant on Crypt an lighthouse his safe space became sanctuary and his bubble. Services sadly enabled that too happen they didn’t take him on their recovery bus help him with his Self Care, identify an address his triggers what to do when crisis hit an were to go when needed help but yet at crisis told him he had to ask for I used to thing they were either a) blindly ignorant orb) extremely stupid as he’s here can’t you see him he’s asking I can see, I can hear why not you. Right up until the day he died he was screaming for help I’ll never understand why when he was taken to a and e why never admitted, never understand neither why his gp only offered him coffee an biscuits you saw he was broken why didn’t you get him help. Where he was living they advertised provided crisis an respite support and will never understand why they didn’t offer him an nor will I accept that they’re not partly accountable as how can you just be private landlords if we’re he was living was under assessment an classed as a transitional home a place supporting people with needs like Tims is probably why I don’t accept is Suicide as because I know more could have been done an I know Tim I know the act he carried out he did was because most drastic the one that would get them really see he was screaming out for help also I suppose I don’t call suicide because I’m not ready accept he didn’t want to be hear no more, not ready accept he wanted to leave us and nor ready accept it was his Time. They’res loads been spoken of at the moment about suicide an zero alliance a zero attitude to suicide I kind of feel that doesn’t relate to my brother as he and the family knew the signs even told people providing Tims care what look out for an when he was in extreme distress he wasn’t a danger to others but himself, Tim also had suspected LD was a recovering addict around 12 months free of substance misuse he was also someone who ended up past from pillar to post and a vulnerable adult and was known to services an should have been supported I feel that the zero alliance is looking at suicide prevention from people that are not known so what do you do for people that are known an how do you help them an how do you help families like mine come to terms an face the harsh reality they’ve lost a loved one to suicide so for the time being ill fight for answers for him, try make Services work better to support people like him, I’ll keep his memory alive an I’ll keep campaigning more should have been done an I’ll continue shout his death was not suicide but a preventable one an ill do that for him in the hope others do not become lost and that through him others maybe found an that people like him they’re lives are made to matter an not tossed to one side an so that people like him have the oppurtunities to be a part of society, be human again but most importantly be a person as Tim he just wanted be Tim again x
Mental Health Positive Practice Awards the biggest insult to individuals an families affected by especially to loved ones who’ve lost a loved one due failings in services and are having to fight for answers why, one of this years shortlisted entrants at her old trust did great things but is know at a new trust been their just over a year started a few weeks after my loved ones passing that trust have never behaved in away that’s worthy of positive practice towards my brother or my family but yet celebrated in the accoloade of the nomination they were a trust that demonstrated positive practice, I’d like ask then is positive practice sending a stranger to someone’s home no involvement in the care of the person who coming say sorry for their death is positive practice, is giving a grieving mother an siblings a book about bereavement positive practice is telling them the trusts going to carry out a serious incident review but I’m not involved in positive practice, Is positive practice telling a grieving mum who trying fit the pieces of a jigsaw together to find answers why that she can’t have her dead son’s medical notes because she didn’t have power of Attorney positive practice, is not having no direct contact or email address an having ring every dept within your trust to find the named professional handling the serious incident review positive practice, is it positive practice to then get handle the families complaint as well as the incident review, is it positive practice to give to someone who new post the task for them to meet the family but then decide can’t do and ok pass someone else, is it then ok then that person rush do an compile an apparently get loads of changes made coincidently the month report compiled an no family involvement positive practice and then except a mum say’s ok but yet not gone an discussed with her just sent her an her advocate through the post positive practice, is positive practice having a complaint drag on not resolved one that didn’t need be made if supported an work with the mother and family through their grieve an give them answers looking for positive practice. The nominee maybe worthy of their award but please don’t let the trust be part of that accolade and say their a trust that demonstrates positive practice because that just causes further hurt an pain an upset to families like mine especially when complaints still ongoing, answers still not given an now in the legal domain an why not named the trust that’s going to take credit for been a positive practice provider an I’ve to sit bite my tounge an stay stronger even pray an hand that upset to god an ask for peace in hope my mum gets the answers looking for so she can one day be able start to mourn an grieve her son but the why’s and how could happen and why not helped put the brick wall up an barrier to mourning up because till you can comprehend the why it’s a case then you can’t and I hate seeing my mum have to fight try be strong an worry about her not been able mourn an what will happen when she gets the answers is that positive practice have a family stuck in their grief unable mourn especially when you hold that power to answer but choose not to because saying sorry for the failings means accepting accountability positive practice. It’s also to individuals that live with mental health an access services an insult them theirs positive practice awards you shouldn’t need awards to make your staff be compassionate, challenge the way things work, initiatives should come from wanting to do through Listening an working with individuals an common sense not coproduction an through caring an isn’t caring why you signed up to the job, to make a difference an isn’t it what your their supposed to do anyway an what to your fellow colleagues an departments who want do great an positive things but are hit by staff shortages, high demands to access services, working out on the margins when hit by service cut right back an try make a difference an to them positive practice is risking burnout as they go extra mile supporting someone with complex needs go unnoticed acceptable not really because what they do goes over looked by things like positive practice awards but yet shouldn’t and they don’t care don’t get credit they’re just doing what signed up for their job, To all at the positive practice awards enjoy but to the trusts going share in ask do you really dare share in that accolade and also ask yourselves if it’s prestige an awards and accolades your driving force to ensure you get job done ask yourselves why, and remind yourselves individuals and families expect to be treat with care, with dignity, be listened to with compassion they’re not desirable criteria for positive practice it’s why you should be doing the job and providing the service you provide.
The buzz word in Mental Health Stigma, we must speak out, we must were it label it lovely smiley faces on twitter at the moment I have Mental Health its ok say have , it’s ok you get help. I salute you for being proud, I salute your optimism, I used be loud, be proud open about my experiences was told was inspiring it boosted my confidence, lifted my self esteem a short lived adrenaline buzz but sadly no changes came were made, society gets an understands stigma are open to help they just don’t know we’re go, were access and get doors opened to care, Joe bloggs on the street does care, does understand I usually knows someone or even they themselves affected by. I don’t engage as much now with speaking out campaigns, wear my label on my sleeve now because I lost my brother to a preventable suicide he had both Mental Health and Substance Misuse he didn’t face stigma from his family or friends it was from the services that were meant to support him those that are now behind twitter campaigns like #I have Mental Health, I saw my brother at times at crisis took him to A and E be told he’s to ask for help is not sat in A n E over 8 hours in height of crisis not asking for help, when did ask for got turned away past from pillar to post, Even when stopped taking drugs was always told “it’s the drugs” it’s the drugs. Never asked him why he ever became an addict, Never explored his childhood upbringing, never asked Why if did ask Why they’d have seen then yes it was because of the Mental Health but they never did they stigmatised because of the substance misuse. My brother was stigmatised because of a Dx he was given Anti Social Personality Disorder the condition shut doors to access to recovery, was probably why assessments for suspected learning disability got passed up, passed up not just one professional that suspected was most who came into contact with him, why did you not do when came to you when spoke out said I’m here I need help, his protector Dennis a doll became his tormentor took his identity offer, the doll got into his head told Tim what do we his family asked for help knew he possibly wasn’t mentally ok even asked for support an help but got turned away. I do have Mental Health needs myself an manage I recognised certain things in my brother, Hearing Voices, Dissociative Identity, Depression, Obsessive an Compulsive Behaviour, self harming because he’d felt lost control needed help was not helped he openly said had but didn’t get so is why know I struggle support an engage with #IhaveMentalHealth. I’m only doing this blog because need rant get my upset, anger, frustrations out I’ve to do that to manage mine so don’t obsess about, get worked up about, have it bring me down and me turn on myself internalise and berate myself for not speaking out an challenging the #IhaveMentalHealth. The angry voice inside me wants say it’s patronising, that those that failed in my brother’s care murdered my brother they didn’t carry it out but nor did they step in an prevent it’s too late now for sorry. Campaigns like #I have Mental health are belittling to individuals and families affected an they’re belittled by the association of the unnecessary use of the word stigma, we must talk about yes stigma led to my brother doing what did but it wasn’t because of lack of understanding but care for all those professionals sharing their photos, retweeting posts ask yourselves why are you sharing, retweeting are you actually as a result of that post go out make a direct action, something that does get help, get changes made and actually stand up make a difference it’s time moved on from speaking out an do for those brave enough do, speak out, do for those who ask for help and on my post look at the photo and do for my brother Tim someone who said #IhaveMentalHealth help me the person whose voice not heard and do for my mum, my siblings an our children who have to live with his loss, live with pain knowing asked for help and enough not done because we don’t want people going through what we are.
I was once optimistic Services would improve and improve for the better initiatives an policies around crisis care, no decisions about me made without me were made the NHS an services were to be Liberated the Recovery Bus, Coproduction Bus and Person Centred Care Bus rolled up into town. Did they make a difference, Did they leave people liberated and will the new 5 year forward initiative make a lasting impact I’m sceptical it won’t because I once believed that Services Could Change Improve Lives, Help individuals Regain Control and put the person an those close to them at the centre and provide a whole person approach attitude to care. I was wrong and my optimism that Services Could do that proved to be fatal. In the last few weeks the media has been highlighting cases were deaths are been investigated and a trust is to be investigated in one case. I’ve discovered that my family is not alone as we too are fighting for answers to how our loved one could have lost his life he did not lose his life however in an inpatient setting he lost his in a transitional housing unit a unit that’s supposed to provide care for vulnerable adults who were in crisis, needed mh support, support with homelessness an substance misuse. We put our loved ones care in the trust of services an the local authority that they would ensure an provide the care an support he needed.
We sadly got it wrong we like many other families now are fighting for answers we’ve had reach out too advocacy support, lodge formal NHS complaints, left outside the serious incident review process yet had our hearts ripped wide opened when had the people running come visit us at my mums family home but yet still no answers no been asked did we want input nor told what they will learn or put in place been sent a document though however that supposedly has in can we sign off on it. How can we if you’ve not sat gone through it with us or had us been involved in any of the process no one can make a decision on something not involved in but shouldn’t we have been after all we’re searching for answers to why, why our loved ones death was not prevented. We had to reach out to a charity Inquest because we didn’t know anything about what to expect, how to be involved the types of inquests and if not for them we wouldn’t have been put in touch with a solicitor an barrister but we’ve had to meet criteria for Legal Aid an that only covered representation to help prepare the case for inquest we then had to apply for separate funding for a grant to have barrister representation at the inquest but yet the Services who failed automatically have the money behind them to represent them but for families they have to search an find that help an that’s sad it’s also sad we don’t get automatically represented as do the services as it’s a live been lost here a life that mattered and a death that should be held accountable for and answers need to be answered how could it have happened and why and was enough done theirs also issue you had a duty of care an families put that trust in you and that is why then you become accountable because that trust was put in you. As a family member I witnessed my loved one passed from pillar to post, told to ask for help an when did told couldn’t help so why tell him ask for, I saw pleas from my family ignored, I saw my loved one slowly become even more invisible, dehumanised, made feel unworthy an in end not listened too, not cared for or supported that’s hard to face an accept especiallly when don’t expect from services that were supposed to be their an provide that. Sadly my loved ones passing won’t be the last an that too is hard to accept because you then wonder what will they learn from the incident report carried out an what will they learn from the impending inquest because sadly my brother won’t be last. I also suspect under the area he came under he was sadly not the only individual failed and probably other families going through what we are too. Whilst awaiting I see initiatives around patient safety, suicide prevention an the new buzz one 5 year forward. Will they make a difference I suspect not it’s just a recycled blue print that for last few years keep rewording add a few more charts an statistics an wow a new policy or charter to follow sadly not worth paper printed out on because sadly lives are continuously been failed, no one been held accountable, no lessons been learned from, their lives not mattering. Services are still been under funded, cuts still been made, workforces at breaking point, charity sector organisations stepping up and lifting the burden from you holding you up their the ones trying the best but are not given the credit for nor do you liase with them and assist in supporting someone you just quickly like pass someone on so not on your case load yet you need to work with them they can’t do it all alone but yet as with families you isolate them too. Crisis Care is shocking too the crisis care concordat act did that make a difference if did my brother would not have been turned away twice an also got in housing were living, but sadly their isn’t enough beds in or out of are, not enough home intervention teams and respite places available an thing we’re my brother lived is only 8 crisis beds available. Wasn’t the crisis care concordat act supposed to address that. Vulnerable individuals languish in police cell’s awaiting mh assessment some end up in the prison system locked up unfairly because at crisis committed offences but because not enough beds professionals say can see unwell but doesn’t warrant admission an so under public nuisance an anti social activity get imprisoned as well as many other offences during my brother’s care that too happened just impeded him further. It makes you wonder why as a society are we allowing that to happen why is the police and judiciary system allowing that are they powerless to act against the services can’t they enforce services to act especially when they clearly know difference between a vulnerable an mentally unwell person an hardened criminal. Why is it that over the years what’s published, guidelines not implemented you’ll tweet about, talk about have development meetings about but not implement, no changes be made and very little service improvement. Yet you market yourselves, give fancy awards, and too have buzz weeks fab change week the latest so what will you do what change an implement will you make what will you do to prevent lives been lost, Will you make your services inclusive to all, stop cutting services that matter, work with organisations lifting you up, will you stop labelling an stigmatising people under your care, will you stop turning people away because don’t fit your Dx an recovery models more importantly support loved ones who’ve lost someone under your care. Families shouldn’t have to fight for answers, set up justice groups an campaigns and have to search an fight for the answers because they need compassion an care an time to grieve they don’t just deserve empathy but also deserve be treated with dignity, respect and upmost of all they need the answers so can grief, hate say have closure an make pretending moving on with life’s easier. It’s also now time ask why in this day an age why are services still continuing to fail an sadly lives been lost.
On Wednesday I’m going to Westminster with National Mind an the MP’s to their bring to the table event to discuss Mental Health Going Forward and what needs be done, theirs lots been highlighted about austerity, of postcode lottery, even the diagnosis lottery an conveyor belt. These issues are complex, challenging and have crippling impact to individuals affected by Mental Health. I’ve been asked to represent Yorkshire an Humber I will to an extent highlight my brother’s death and failings in his care. I have also spoke with my friends at Lighthouse Academy in Leeds an to my friends at Healthy Minds in Calderdale and I was alarmed at some of concerns raised and highlighted and that as much as we shout out for better mental health care we are so far from it.
Services are been closed without proper consultation to the service users that access and they’re unable be referred into alternative therapies as they don’t fit the recovery timescales, diagnosis to complex been told all has been to try help them and worst of all they’re now struggling find private alternatives because that one thing that made a difference has been took away.
For some accessing treatment and support and getting the foot in the door is hard specifically for rehab for overcoming addiction and I see regularly individuals, friends, little communities forming trying to support each other overcoming addiction and it breaks my heart to see them stumble because you know they are desperately trying following things like routine, keep busy, avoid temptation but the underlying issues not addressed, no support to detox, withdraw and overcome addiction and the space an Time and safe place to do and rehab is what would make all that difference but for some they are sadly overlooked, the waiting lists are too long that people are told waits of up to 2 years no point referring you in. Why then are their no alternatives why are we not demanding more specialised services why are we overlooking this vulnerable client group. Is it because they don’t deserve help, is it because society says they don’t fit just as services say we can’t help because we can’t fit you into a box. Austerity is penalising these individuals setting them up to fail be persecuted, isolated, attacked and further dehumanised and sadly why so many life’s are lost and in today’s society we should be holding up those most vulnerable.
People’s mental wellbeing is been impacted by austerity people know it’s good to volunteer, want to volunteer are told by professionals do it will aid your recovery and then they do volunteer and do little bits building themselves up, getting skills may not necessarily have an then bam DWP is taking them of benefits that awarded because of their conditions an impact has an been told well you can volunteer you can go on Job seekers or some universal credit been set up to fail not supported sanctioned if don’t apply for x amount of Jobs, write cvs do job searches and get x amount of interviews and many get passed up, employers won’t take on an so they get hit with sanction after sanction money stopped go without food, heating, hot water, basic provisions, spiral further into debt trying keep a roof over heads and the pressure of and lacking basic needs is detrimental to their health and we are turning our backs on them what are we doing to challenge the hardest hit be supported we’re are we fighting for their right to health equality not inequality.
One guy mentioned to me he wanted work volunteer be phased an supported in he’s not worked in a long time just finding his feet got placed on Job Seekers could I ask for more supported employment programmes I wished I could but sadly those services are few an far between an waiting lists get on are high so for him I pray he doesn’t stumble because of the dwp system setting people up to fail. DWP shouldn’t be allowed treat people in the inhumane way they are they are having a detrimental impact on health.
Mental Health is impacted by physical, housing, social, financial influences, influences that government need address especially if mental health support has a chance to change improve an save lives as part of the 5 year forward strategy on Wednesday when I take people’s voices to the table I’ll try ensure heard because I can’t sit back an watch the most vulnerable be forgot about anymore.
On social Media I’ve seen people debating Patient Safety in relation to my brother I’ve realised that more could have been done for him and that Patient Safety did not come into his care. To help me come to terms with his passing I’ve to understand an process why and find the solutions to could have what made a difference it is what manages my self care an also putting pen to paper gets my thoughts an ideas out an mapped out. So today while I’ve had an empty house an cleared up house listening to the song that played at the start of my brother’s funeral I listened to the song ” How to Save A Life by the Fray and asked myself that question. I asked myself how Services from a Patient Safety point of View could have saved a Life and been all Tim needed and here’s what I came up with.
1.See me as a Person
2.See my Circumstances
3.Include my family and Friends in my Care
4.All Services needed to work together an not in Isolation
5. Choice an Opportunities
6. The important one Listen When I ask 4 Help
7.Judgement Free Care
8.Check my Records be it Safeguarding,Crisis,Suicide Prevention,Care Plans and Recovery Plans are all up to date, working an implemented an everyone including Me an My Family were made aware off.
9.Take Responsibility Don’t keep passing me to service to service from Pillar to Post.
10. Carry out All assessments
11. Don’t exclude me from Services Because of Labels Attached to Me
12. Support through Major transitions
13 Finally Compassion an Understanding as Human Beings we are all entitled to having that met.
These things don’t seem like much but to my brother they’d have made a big difference and he’d still be here for all those looking at Patient Safety please look at this and ask yourselves could you have been All Tim Needed.