My daughter is a single mum of two pre-school children, and suffers mental health issues which include occasional episodes of acute depression, resulting in very dark thoughts and comtemplating suicide.
he experienced one such episode recently, so came with the children to stay with me as she was fearful of being alone with the children.
When she arrived, I phoned 111 and gave the practitioner a brief review of the situation, then he spoke to my daughter at length. When she passed the phone back to me, he strongly advised to get her to Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s A&E within an hour for support from the Crisis intervention team.
I followed the advice with my two grandchildren in tow and left her there as the children had fallen asleep in the car and I couldn’t leave them. She was seen by a triage nurse. There was confusion – they didn’t seem to know if anyone from Crisis was available, or even where they were based. After one-and-a-half hours, my daughter phoned me to say no one had spoken to her. She asked me to collect her, which I did. We left her contact details with A&E – asking them to contact when someone became available to help. No one ever made contact.
On the way back home I went into the Fermoy Unit and asked for advice. The receptionist said “she really needs to go to her GP for a referral”. This, of course, is just a stalling tactic. There is actually no-one in the Crisis team – it is just a myth perpetrated to make the general public feel something is being done to help those in dire need.
If a person were to present to A&E with a broken leg, would they be told to make an appointment with their GP so a referral for treatment could me made?
Being pushed from pillar to post made the situation worse. The problem with mental ill health is that you often only get a small window of time when the person is receptive to intervention and treatment.
My daughter has seen her GP – but GPs only have an eight-minute time slot, and prescribe medication. I think she needs more dedicated support. Sometimes the situation makes me feel anxious and depressed myself, and I fear I will not always be able to provide the help she clearly needs.