By Christopher Naylor
It can be good for someone with a history of mental illness to seek treatment from either a psychiatrist or a psychologist, especially if their GP has referred them for treatment. However, it’s very difficult for even a specialist to assess a person if they have premeditated plans, or suicidal ideation. Except in rare cases, they haven’t disclosed how they are feeling, and their thoughts. It’s near impossible even if, for example, they are in hospital as an inpatient on the intensive care ward, with 15 minute observations.
This situation differs significantly if the person discussed or treated is suffering from self harm. For example, if they are cutting or burning their arms and legs, this could be due to what I like to term historical emotional withdrawal. In addition they may have suffered unhelpful family dynamics, typically abuse and trauma.
Some people find therapeutic interventions, such as massage or acupuncture, particularly beneficial. Also for people who are willing to disclose their personal journey of struggle, there is increasing evidence that talking is beneficial to people’s recovery. See http://www.peerzone.info for further information on this.
‘Due to a spontaneous cellphone call from my flatmate, out of concern for where I was, the next day in the afternoon after work I found myself in the office of the CATT (Crisis Assessment & Treatment Team). A team of mental health nurses and one doctor, on the doctor’s assessment, admitted me into a mental health ward on the 6/4/04. This was Ward 27 at Wellington Hospital.
Treatment in hospital
After an anxious court hearing during my second week of hospital to put me under Section 76 of the Mental Health Act, I received a community treatment order. This would be reviewed. For now it meant that I was under a legal obligation to take my medication. I also had to attend appointments with my community mental health nurse and doctor. I stayed for a humbling and trialing 3 weeks, under the treatment of mental health nurses and a doctor. On the third week of hospital I was discharged from Ward 27.
It’s never been helpful to wonder what I could or could not have done for my friend back in 2004. He sadly died by suicide while in hospital care during my own recovery, in the months after my own discharge. At times it felt as if I was walking over hot rocks, or through fire. This lasted until perhaps the very end of 2007, when I discovered full recovery.
If you need urgent support yourself, please don’t hesitate to contact one of the following support or crisis organisations:
Reproduced with permission, originally posted here