Citizen Journalism: INADEQUATE MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES 2006 by Michelle Clarke

 

The Mental health services are grossly inadequate.

Sunday June 18, 2006 22:43
Mental Health: Community and inadequate services.
Please understand, I have made several amendments to this because as my health finally improved significantly I have had to make changes.  2006 was a year when co-morbidities and a change from a psychiatrist, Mr Jim Maguire RIP, (who had been a really significant mentor to me in coping with my condition) to Baggot Street Community health in Dublin 4.  This article was written up in June 2006 and sent to the people detailed below.  I think the word ‘Rambling’ was used but then desperation led me to write in the hope that if I did not survive, then at least someone out there would be alerted to a system of health service, in particular, public health, that was in need of funding, professionals and rehabilitation programmes.
 
June 2016:  I call myself a Survivor.  But more so I regard myself as an activist for others who I know to this day are not treated fairly or in a humane way.  I continue to write but to little avail.   If you read this you will realise ….Public Health provision (especially relating to mental health and addiction) has not moved forward.  Patients are not treated with dignity.  There are too many charities when it is a proper public health system that is urgently needed.  I have written up my health history on https://canisgallicus.wordpress.com  “Take Responsibility……”  It is time for Politicians, their civil servants to engage with people who may have something worthwhile to contribute.

America, they refer to the “Underclass”.

Medical Services in Ireland are harnessed by the divide – you pay or you don’t.  Therein is the obscurity as to how to have hope and get the best treatment.

I note Patient’s Together https://www.irishhealth.com/article.html?id=7609 are mobilising to challenge Professor Drumm and the HSE scandal of overcrowding in Accident and Emergency.

I am hearing too much about suicide. I am encountering a degree of medical arrogance that I can no longer accept. I wonder have people experienced similar problems?  We are not hearing about all the suicides i.e. those involving the Luas for example or the out of the ordinary number that have occurred in Finglas at the moment.

What is the medical, political and social system saying? Are they confining people with mental health issues, addiction, neurological illnesses to no Hope and the underclass category?  I did some voluntary work in Zimbabwe. Those infected with HIV were women and children. The word respect and dignity was core. I don’t receive the same as a mental health patient in my own country at a public community health centre namely Baggot Street Community Hospital, Dublin 4.

Let us change attitudes and let us mobilise through Open Publishing platforms  to do something about Mental Health and ancillary health problems (my case traumatic brain injury; manic depression, anxiety) and seek the services that are provided in countries like Germany. The time has come to stop the professionals and their self seeking research and ask for rehabilitation programmes that stop the revolving door associated with mental illness.

I ask people to consider this. I ask for Transparency and Accountability at publicly provided health services for people who need hope.

This is a letter I have written to politicians and journalists:-

Mental Health is about stigma and particularly in Ireland.  Suicide and mental health are closely linked. Ogra Shinn Fein and so many others are targeting suicide but really, from personal experience, the real focus needs to be the provision of community health services, with no financial charges, is urgently required to deal with the multiplicity that forms mental health and this includes addictions of all kinds. This is a public health problem but we have a situation in Ireland presently sanctioned by a money grabbing greedy government, of associations/charities who raise funds by activities like Balls for the elites, Running etc. This is fine but let’s get real, we are talking about a public health crisis and the need for consistency and initiative for all people.  It is shameful that mental health receives such a diminished fraction of the funds allocated to other specialties.

Ireland 2006 is about a knowledge economy.   The computer is a tool that assists me cope with traumatic brain injury and the inherent complications; it lets me comprehend at my tortoise speed as distinct from that of the hare who has the benefit of a quick in out visit to a doctor or a mobile call.  he last diagnosis I received from a consultant was Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – just the few words but the truth is it was the science magazine via the internet that explained what it meant, endorsed the exhaustions, the low immune system and all other symptoms.

Wake up time and patients don’t be put down. Your health and the doctors opinion is a genesis!!!!!! or should be……

Reform:

What nonsense if the professionals you employ are so non motivated. Public Doctors are concerned about their private practice and money…….and registrars……well my personal experience is frightening (to take a court action of negligence is so often way beyond the capacity of a person with mental health issues). Why can you not come up with some form of ready reckoner and grant system so that people like me with traumatic brain injury, bipolar, anxiety and chronic fatigue system ie co morbidities www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov › NCBI › Literature › PubMed Central (PMC) can have complete progressive community services  that says welcome to illness and welcome to the Underclass. A young woman, when I gained sufficient energy to walk there, gave me a heart, an option, and true concern at the Citizens Advice Bureau in Adelaide Road but the truth is the public health system is not fit for purpose and discriminates and continues to stigmatise people with mental illness and addictions.

I expect to be treated with dignity and that the same applies to all people.  I expect to be consulted about medicine changes (and the detox complications) after 6 years on the same psychiatric dose.  I don’t expect to be told on a Friday by a non national junior doctor that he does not understand what ‘neuro-psychiatric’ means; and to have his instruction to the pharmacist (who knows me for 6 years) basically summed up as ‘I am boss and do as I say’.  I faced into a weekend alone in panic and desperation.  I wrote at the time “My anxiety has gone through the sky, I am not sleeping, the violent headaches are back and also I am back to vomiting on the street – I have no control ….. I cannot eat…..My family are way and my relationship over.”

The pharmacist, so qualified, must follow this junior doctor’s instruction (someone I had never met before or was likely to meet again) could only say on Monday visit him but the system does not work that way, visits to the public clinic are on a weekly basis and by appointment.   Since I am falling fast into the newly forming underclass in Ireland, the fact is nobody will listen to me.

You all comment about suicide…….(I suggest you look at your practices.  Suicide is rampant but public services could only make you think what is the point and get focused on the next best exit plan … ie exit from life.

To the people I have sent this email to (details below) I ask you to give commitment to people who are vulnerable especially those with mental illness and try doing something for people, treating them with dignity.  Look to the Germans, the Swedes, the Poles.  We seemso ignorant in this country and this is not helped by the very low percentage of funds contributed by Government.   Listen to your service users also.

Please direct this as follow:

Dr. Hillery
Dr. Owens, Mental Health Commission
Dr. Jim Maguire Consultant Psychiatrist North Eastern Health Board (a man of vision)
Mr. Enda Kenny (Focus on Suicide)
Mr. Connolly (IAS)
Mr. Gerry Adams (Focus on suicide)
Geraldine Clare, Aware
Try Mind in the UK for initiative. I spoke with an Artist from Ireland who works with them concerning art therapy.

I have had enough. I presented details of over 5 pages of my health history because of the various impacts from hearing to sight, mental illness, to anxiety, acquired brain injury to no short term memory.  I pushed myself beyond capacity and ended up with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome also. None of the consultants private or public appear to have the commitment to mental health that is needed…the fight is yours……..They did not need it and I can go so far as to say I was even mocked about my neurosis……..and focus on the past. I tried to explain that depression was under control but that my motivation had lots of plans and no energy. (In retrospect what I needed was a carer to establish a daily routine).

Please note the number of doctors and doctors children who commit suicide.  Is it not strange?   I believe it is that they know too much about stigma and it is easier to just go ahead and get to hell out of here.  Who wants to live my life and the stigma that surrounds it and the fear and the alienation and the vulnerability?

Michelle Clarke  – I expect an answer this time

Gandhi: ‘Live as if you are going to die tomorrow and learn as if you are going to learn for the rest of your life.

Please copy to May Harney. I tried talking to her but to no avail. People ought to realise the power of listening and the silence therein.

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