It’s that time of the year again, Budgets cut and services under threat.
Hi, I would like to tell you of a service that, due to it’s not being ‘clinical’, is viewed as surplus to requirements, well actually it is not just one.
The services are called ECHO (Brighter Futures)
NSV (North staffs Voice)
Echo is a self harm group (no that is not ‘just cutting’). It can cover a multitude of different ways one places themselves in harms way. Some are more socially acceptable, some less obvious, but all are a way of coping, a way to control something in an uncontrollable life, a way to ‘feel’ something that deadens the pain of something else so that the ‘healing’ process can begin. It is not a cry for attention and ECHO is not a place to swap ideas.
What it is, and probably most importantly, is a place where you will not be judged. You will however receive support and advice on how to break the cycle of self harm. This can come from one-to-one support, complimentary therapies, art groups and workshops that look at the emotions and feelings that can trigger a self harm response.
This group works! It is why if you are over 18 and in North Staffs you have a good chance of being referred to it by the doctor/psychiatrist.
However I have heard that if you self harm and have the support of this NON CLINICAL group, it has been deemed sufficient enough to STOP access to clinical support in some areas.
Just think about that for a minute, it would not be allowed to happen with a physical diagnosis, Oh you are being a sports therapist, well you don’t need the GP then.
But that is off topic. This service IS recognised for the work it does. It can
get someone off meds (saving, in my case I was told £500 a month, for one med, unbelievable)
stop visits to the accident unit, and before you judge think how drink related cases are just classed as a ‘weekend thing’,
stop admittance in the mental hospitals
and get people living their life free of self harm
As a side note, it can also improve their life in general, get someone through the educational system and improve their chances to landing a job, then being able to keep it.
If the system is relying more and more on the support that these groups offer as they cut NHS services and the support that they can offer, then where is the logic on putting all the work the NON clinical services have done at risk?
Personally it has been the support of these groups NOT the support of the NHS that have managed to keep me off the prescribed medication that has been dropped off.
I am not dismissing the work of the psychiatrist or psychologists nor the counsellors, but the waiting lists can be long and I currently have four hours a YEAR in appointments and support from the NHS compared to five days a week access to Brighter futures, with appointments not usually required, depends on what I want to talk about.
This is under threat and studies have shown an increase in self harm and it is not a teen thing, far from it. Echo can help, for now, but it requires support to be there for the next generation coming through and to be there for the generations just starting to ask for help now.
Now North Staffs Voice.
Ok, you are in a charitable service that is having the funding stopped and you have issues with your Mental Health Service from the NHS. Who do you go to for help?
Luckily we have NSV(North Staffs Voice), Think PALS for mental health.
Well, we have till Christmas, this NON CLINICAL group have had their funding stopped.
Who do we have to help with unsatisfactory mental health then???
NSV are a separate charitable group from ECHO and Brighter Futures but you can see the connection I hope. If the support from these non clinical groups is ended the Support is going to be require at the budget cut hospitals, and if that is insufficient or has a problem with it, then there is nobody to help with the complaints if you stop funding the complaint enablers. Crafty really.
NSV covers all mental health services in North Staffordshire, a small team that goes a long way, and in my experience has had a profound effect to my CLINICAL treatment.
Sometimes in the mental health system a person can get stuck in a Drug Treatment program, that is to say the therapy treatments are not deemed an option.
What do I mean by that?
I have collected a lot of coping mechanisms to help me with daily life since my breakdown. This has resulted in therapy being denied due to me ‘coping’ in day to day life, to which I have ‘the medication to thank for that (according to one person),’ although the coping mechanisms themselves have been highlighted as strategies.
Positive strategies by the psych team but negative strategies (the same ones) by the couple of workshops delivered by the same service, so who is correct? Depends on who you talk to on the day.
To throw in the mix, the changes to my mood and the stability came at the time I was in the mental hospital for six weeks. Here I first developed some of the patterns I still use today.
When I left the hospital I did not return to the previous life I had before entering, everything changed. But it was the meds that got the credit.
My mood plateau’d and I kept questioning the effectiveness of the medication as my reactions are still to people, that has never changed, my coping strategy is to not mix with strangers without support or an exit plan being present, and avoiding crowds whenever possible, especially indoors.
Most of my strategies will not work in a work environment. So no, I don’t think the drugs work and I don’t think I am coping.
I was told right at the beginning, something like seven years ago, that the drugs are not the answer…therapy is the answer.
However I was left with…therapy is not the answer, just take the drugs.
I needed to be heard, without the fear of being sent back to the hospital, a real fear after being sectioned, or of being put on new meds/having the ones that you are on altered to compensate for your mood. NSV supplied that ear then became my voice. In 2014 it was a voice for over 1000 members.
If you or a loved one was ill you would want the best treatment available, and the correct treatment.
If the treatment had seemed to stall or be stuck in the same cycle that has offered no change in that persons mental state, and complaints have no effect because they are coming from the mental health patient, then yes an outside voice is helpful. If only to get a fresh look at the way treatment is received.
North Staffs Voice (formally North Staffs Users Group) is that voice for the service users. An intermediary service between service users and service providers.
Personally I think this service should be made available allover the country, just like PALS.
Mental Health problems can effect anyone at any time.
These are worth while charities that require your donations to carry on their support.
I hope that you will never need them nor anybody in your family.
However there is a 1 in 4 chance you will know somebody who will be affected and will.To contact either charity follow these links
To donate to either of these charities please follow the links bellow.