All the ceremonies are over. Everyone has done their bit. The visitors, flowers, phone calls, messages are all thinning out.
Now the real work begins. To come to terms with it. To experience living in the house without him and accepting that he is not coming back, ever. To wonder what’s to be done with his belongings. To go about my life and try my best to enjoy it. To constantly think about what he would have liked and how he would have reacted to a given situation, without letting it hurt me. To wonder if I should delete his number from my list of contacts. Never.
A meeting with one of the Psychiatrists this morning was useful and brought out a few points in my mind:
1. After a patient is discharged from the Community Mental health team to a GP, they should be followed up periodically.
2. When a fresh diagnosis of a mental illness is made, the level of monitoring should be high until the illness has stabilised.
3. The illness should be put in a social context where the family circumstances should be assessed and support provided to match the needs of the patient and their carer(s).
4. Carers should be provided with full and frank information without minimising the risks as they deserve to know the facts, the same as patients suffering with cancer do.
5. Aside from the GP and A&E , there should be another resource that patients and carers can turn to for help and advice.
I am told that there is a new Samaritans sign at the local Railway station where this happened. The Samaritans are a charity which supports anyone in distress, round the clock, across the UK. This brings a glimmer of hope.