Comment

Does the mental health system really care for people?

A father describes his daughter’s experiences and his doubt whether the care she has received has been in her best interests.
thinking through thoughts

A father describes his daughters experiences and questions whether the care she receives has been in her best interest.

I was interested to read of the concerns regarding the physical effects of antipsychotics on patients with mental illness [news, November 2016] because my daughter has been affected.

I have observed first-hand the dreadful effects of medication on my daughter, who has diabetes, damaged eyesight, morbid obesity, breathing difficulties, pain at depot site, giddiness, sleeplessness and headaches.

Her initial illness stemmed from a single episode of cannabis use at college and it has continued over the next 15 years. We have watched a slim, pretty young girl deteriorate into a shambling wreck of a woman. It has been traumatic, yet psychiatrists seem to not be overly concerned that she will not live to see 40.

She is now under a community

...

A father describes his daughter’s experiences and questions whether the care she receives has been in her best interest.

thinking through thoughts
Picture: iStock

I was interested to read of the concerns regarding the physical effects of antipsychotics on patients with mental illness [news, November 2016] because my daughter has been affected.

I have observed first-hand the dreadful effects of medication on my daughter, who has diabetes, damaged eyesight, morbid obesity, breathing difficulties, pain at depot site, giddiness, sleeplessness and headaches.

Her initial illness stemmed from a single episode of cannabis use at college and it has continued over the next 15 years. We have watched a slim, pretty young girl deteriorate into a shambling wreck of a woman. It has been traumatic, yet psychiatrists seem to not be overly concerned that she will not live to see 40.

She is now under a community treatment order with compulsory depot injections that visibly make her worse. What makes me angry is the refusal of doctors to reduce the dose with a view to her being taken off these drugs completely.

'Normal' demeanour

We are told she is violent, but that is nonsense. The only incidences of ‘violence’ occur when she has resisted being manhandled to be given the depot injection, but the record remains.

Whenever she has been put before a mental health tribunal my daughter is given depot medication immediately before, which means the panel never see her as she ‘normally’ is, which is able to cope with ordinary life.

I believe it is the medication that causes the ‘illness’ they take to be mental illness. That cannot be right: you wouldn’t go for a driving test after drinking half a bottle of whiskey, so why present an unresponsive patient to a tribunal panel that has never seen her ‘normal’ demeanour?

I realise there are many patients who need medication to stop them harming themselves or others, but my daughter is not one of them.

A report said she was ‘hearing voices’ through a window that overlooks a busy footpath. The question was: ‘Do you ever hear voices?, to which she answered: 'Yes, through the window,’ which would be the truthful reply of anyone who had heard the conversation of people using the path. But that was confirmation she “hears voices” and is mentally ill.

She tells me that she does not and never has, ‘heard voices,’ except those of people talking – real voices, not imagined ones.

Exhibiting behaviour

My daughter was said to be ‘promiscuous’ and displaying ‘lewd behaviour,’ but I am sure many teenage girls who get drunk exhibit behaviour that they would not display when sober.

It is as if everything is lumped together, so to present her as a dangerous, voracious and a sex pest, is simply untrue. She might have been a wild teenager, but she isn’t now.

We are told that mental health care has improved since the days of the asylums, but I believe there are many ‘for profit’ institutions that are making a lot of money out of the NHS, and I don't see them rehabilitating many patients.

One leading psychiatrist (Gøtzsche 2012) has said that ‘big pharma often commits crime', and patients, including those with mental health problems, are suffering as a result.

You can only guess at what many relatives of patients would think if they read these things which are published in journals the majority don’t read, but I do. Some would come to the conclusion that once you are in the mental health ‘system’ it is downhill all the way to an early grave – an appalling conclusion to come to if it's true.


Reference

Gøtzsche P (2012) Big pharma often commits corporate crime, and this must be stopped. British Medical Journal. 14, 345, e8462. doi: 10.1136/bmj.e8462.


Name and address withheld

Want to read more?

Subscribe for unlimited access

Enjoy 1 month's access for £1 and get:

  • Full access to mentalhealthpractice.com
  • Bi-monthly digital edition
  • RCNi Portfolio and interactive CPD quizzes
  • RCNi Learning with 200+ evidence-based modules
  • 10 articles a month from any other RCNi journal

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs