THE majority of support and treatment for people suffering from acute mental health problems is given in the community rather than hospital.
This in theory is more comfortable and less intrusive for the patient, it allows them to keep their independence and costs a lot less than keeping somebody in hospital.
There is also the provision of a home treatment team to step in during a crisis and prevent a hospital admission.
This all looks good on paper, but as a user of these services, they are failing in more than one area. Staff lack basic communication and people skills, the support supposed to be in place for a crisis is not there when needed, basic treatment is not offered, and appointments are cancelled at short notice.
The police and ambulance service are often left to deal with the aftermath when they are not adequately trained in this area.
This is a service which deals with some of the most vulnerable people in our society, it is also an area of healthcare we hear so little about due to the continued stigma of mental illness.
I think it is time we lost the stigma around mental illness and try to improve community-based mental health services in this area and a general better public understanding of mental health issues.
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