"My Mental Health Experience."

About: Ipswich Hospital / Adult mental illness

(as the patient),

I was a patient in the Princess Alexandra Hospital for heart related conditions for a couple of weeks. During that time they organised a mental health psych to see me. She then put me on a new medication and took me off the old one and sent a letter to Ipswich Mental Health.

I saw a psych there and I told her I couldn't sleep, I don't feel good on this medications and I'm feeling more depressed. She didn't take me off them just added another medication. Another psych made a home visit to me, I told him I couldn't sleep and then I actually went onto the website and saw what the side effects were. One of them insomnia, and also in capital letters it said people with heart conditions should not take these as it will race your heartbeat. I'm in atrial fibrillation so I felt that it would race my heart even quicker and puff me out more. So I stopped taking them.

When I explained this to the registrar who visited, it seemed that he patronised me by his reply of - just because they say these are side effects doesn't mean you have them. I lost confidence after that reply and put my walls back up. I find it very difficult to talk to people about my problems, as I never have. They did try and ring me a few times after that and send me a telephone number if I ever needed to talk.

Recently I felt so down, I was having thoughts of ending it and for once it was a really peaceful feeling, but I got the phone and I rang the number that they had sent me. A clinician answered and I said I have been a patient and I'm feeling really down and sad today and that is why I'm ringing you. It took me all my strength to say this. Do you want to know the reply I got back? It was - you said you no longer needed our services. I said, ok and hung up.

Is this how your trained staff are suppose to respond to people struggling and seeking help and feeling so vulnerable? I hope not. I'm writing this so one other person who rings up and really is struggling doesn't get the same reply as i did.

I'm not a complainer, I have stayed in the Ipswich Hospital with a clot in my lungs and the treatment I got in there and was absolutely fantastic.

Please don't put mental health people aside. If they ring up and need help please listen to them. Don't say, oh you said you didn't want our services. She has rung me back 3 times now, I believe this is because she knows what she said was wrong. But I can't even talk to her now, knowing how she truly feels.

Responses

Response from Leanne Geppert, Director of Strategy, Mental Health and Specialised Services, West Moreton Hospital and Health Service

Dear disullusioned

Your story reminds us that every day can be a challenge for people who struggle with mental health issues and everyone has a right to receive supportive, appropriate and non-judgmental mental health care.

We understand the distress and disappointment you have expressed in your story and we would genuinely like to speak with you about how we can help.

While we respect that you want to remain anonymous at the moment and it might be hard for you to speak with us, if you call the Consumer Liaison Office on 0409 275 503, they would welcome your call.

Our staff will listen to you, provide you with information about how we can help and link you in with staff who can offer you the right support and care.

If you need to speak with someone straight away, you can also call the 1300 MHCALL (1300 642255).

Thank you for finding the courage to reach out for help.

Yours sincerely

Dr Leanne Geppert

Executive Director, Mental Health and Specialised Services

West Moreton Hospital and Health Service

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