2019, has taught me, that UK society, is utterly broken where mental health is concerned. We pay lip service to it all really. Okay so we are finally saying the right things, yes, but the real physical help is still not anywhere near adequate. There's such a long way to go. It's all about looking good on Social Media these days, isn't it?
Many moons ago, I worked on a social care placement at 'Broadgates', a proper scary, East Yorkshire, Victorian mental institution. I was horrified and can quite see why things had to change. The issue is, it didn't change for the better, nor does 'Care in the Community' work for many vulnerable adults. A right to a 'normal' life is all very well but what happens when they can't cope?
The government gave those with severe problems the right to refuse treatment and care. This left many thousands of people without any protection from themselves and others. Nowhere to go to be safe, fed and warm. Have their bills paid and their medications monitored. It's an absolute travesty.
On one hand Human Rights are given and respected and on the other hand a vulnerable adult finds the system that should, could help, impossible to access and their relatives are left begging for help. Once classified as an adult, getting help is a maze that has no escape. Finally we realized, no one is coming to help us.
Changes to the Disability Allowance have almost criminalized those in dire need of financial support. The DWP privatized the claims system and made many people destitute over night and reliant on handouts from food banks, family and friends. We should all be ashamed, very ashamed. Now not only do the vulnerable not receive the care they need, they are living in substandard housing and going hungry.
We, as a family, have spent the last 7 years, battling my eldest daughter's mental health issues, with very little success. Beating down the doors of the police, mental health teams, doctors and social workers, to no avail.
I can't tell you how many times, I've been told 'she's an adult' and she is allowed to take care of herself, Unless she asks, we can do nothing'.
The stigma surrounding someone like my daughter with paranoid Schizophrenia has not changed in a 100 years! We aren't making progress at all really. It's just the right words on social media and a bit of a smoke screen.
My daughter requires lifelong care. It's that simple. Yes she is intelligent. Education and intelligence have nothing to do with mental illness! If I had a penny for every time I heard 'she has capacity', I'd be a rich woman by now! The ignorance is mind boggling.
Who, I ask, is 'educating' these so called professionals!
The system is designed to both keep her out and let her hide. She has to reach rock bottom in order to get anywhere near the services she needs. We hear a lot about SECTIONING and how cruel and callous it is, but if it saves her from an early death and other folks from being hurt, then I'm all for it. Not every human being fits into life on this planet. Some are born with minds too fragile to cope.
We are awaiting news of wether she will be sectioned on the 2nd January. This time it took 4 police to stop her smashing up her flat and the surrounding area. It might sound odd to you, but I am praying for her to be sectioned. She needs the peace of routine and to be out of society. To be safe and warm and away from temptation. Her flat was littered with drugs and needles bought off the internet. She needs her medication forced on her. The cats she loves so much were starving. Yes we sent money and food! She couldn't be trusted to spend it on what she really needed.
There's a lot to say, but suffice to say there are a lot of complaints about sectioning these days. So much so, that doctors fear prosecution when making the decision to intern someone. Unfortunately, it is often necessary to place someone in protective custody, sometimes for life. People mainly struggle to get their heads around this. There really is a small percentage of people that aren't born to cope, with a one shoe fits all society and yes it's heartbreaking for all concerned.
I never ever thought, I would ever be in a position, of wanting to lock my daughter up for life. but for her it is the right thing. The only thing that will ensure she is safe from harming herself or anyone else, sadly.
Most nights recently, I have expected a call to say she has taken her own life and If that were to happen, we would have all failed. The system and us, her family. We couldn't make her do anything and the law works against us. So, she had to reach absolutely rock bottom for the system to finally accept that she warrants lifetime care. She has hit the bottom but I'm still not sure we are there yet!
I can't tell you how heartbroken we all are. We've been accused of not caring or not helping so many times. We've been accused of being the problem. These people have no idea what we have all been through or how scarred, our family is because of it. I gave birth to a beautiful, innocent little baby girl who grew up with a broken mind. We can't fix her.
What keeps me awake at night?
What could I have done different?
The answer is NOTHING.
The worst thing has been hearing 'NO' from mental health professionals and doctors, time and time again. We got tired of banging down doors and being labeled as bad or interfering parents. It is a battle many families are coping with in the UK, I know we are not the only ones.
Now we wait with batted breath, to see if she will, at last, find some peace in a mental institution.
Who knows what could happen after real treatment?