last week i blogged about my experience with the state mental health service emergency hotline and how it failed me in a big way when my need was great. here's what happened next.
the following day (thursday i think) i got a call from the DBT guy who noted that i had not gone to emergency (and who must have found my number on file because he had not asked for it when i had called him in distress the previous evening in fact he had not asked me anything at all) with a new contact number for the mental health helpline – it was one of the various numbers i had tried the night before to no avail and i told him so. he asked me to please call it as someone else had reported being given "the run around" and as it was a new system things needed to be worked out… blah blah blah. i had already made an appointment to see my gp (more on that later) and told him so. he said perhaps i should give the number to the doctor to call as he may be taken more seriously than i was (i swear this is true) but that this was defo the right number to call.
friday i start feeling really low again and decide to call the new helpline number. what a mistake. i was hysterical by the end of it. i call – i give my name, date of birth, address etc and start to explain why i have called the helpline. i am interrupted and told to please hold as they are having trouble finding me on the system. i hold and am then put through to another operator who takes all my details again and advises me to call the number i had called before being put through to her. i tell her this and she assures me that this is the correct number for my area and she will put me back through. i hold. i speak to another operator who takes all my details and asks me why i have called as i seem to be in distress. finally someone who is willing to listen. i start talking and crying and we chat for about 15 minutes. when i start talking about my childhood abuse she very abruptly informs me that i live outside their service catchment area and to please hold. i hold for 5 minutes during which time i call the DBT line on my mobile and leave a message telling them what is going on with the defo correct mental health hotline number. i get another operator who takes all my personal details again and then asks what is making me so upset. i confirm with her that she is indeed the person i should be talking to and that i will not be palmed off again. she is very apologetic and explains the service is having teething problems etc with changed boundaries (talking about teaching me how to suck eggs). i tell her that the whole helpline experience has nearly sent me over the edge. she is sympathetic and willing to listen and reassures me by saying that she has pulled up some of my records from when i was part of the DBT program. we talk a bit and she suggests that i need to be referred to a mental health professional for a review of my case and soon. hooray – this is what I want to hear. she thanks me for my patience and assures me that i will receive a letter in the post with a referral to the psychiatrist at the regional hospital within 5 to 7 days and suggests that i go to my gp as booked as she may be able to prescribe me something to control my obvious anxiety and distress in the meantime.
altho it is only mid afternoon my partner gives me my evening meds (seroquel and inderal) and again sits and talks with me until i doze off. someone from the DBT line where i left the message calls about 6pm and he tells her what has happened and that i am now asleep. apparently once she heard i was asleep and under his watchful eye, she sounded completely disinterested and closed the conversation.
i went to my gp yesterday (tuesday) but that's a whole different story…