As I look through the list of organisations that offer help for the mentally ill, I find that most of the work is being done by voluntary bodies like CALM, Mind, Papyrus, Rethink, Depression Alliance, Grassroots, MHFA(Mental Health First Aid), Samaritans etc.
Within the NHS I am sure there are a lot of individuals who care deeply for the mentally ill but as an organization, it is ineffectual for the majority of patients as is evident from many experiences including this anonymous author of today’s article in the Guardian.
Policies are written without any funding to help with their implementation. Many services that have been in existence for a while are being discontinued due to shortages. Inappropriately trained personnel are put in positions of responsibility eg. Occupational therapists as members of Home Treatment Teams. The services are configured more with the idea of saving money than with patient’s best interest in mind. Mental health services have been at the bottom of the list of priorities for so long that they are now truly struggling to maintain even the very basic level of care.
A ‘signpost’ is something that serves as a clue or indication. When Saagar was ill, only the Samaritans were mentioned as part of the Crisis plan. No other organisations were mentioned by the psychiatrists or the GP in terms of websites to guide us on how to look after someone who is depressed and I wasn’t smart enough to find one myself.
If someone asks me for help and I am unable to help them, I can at least ‘signpost’ them in the right direction. We all can. Something as simple as that can save a life. Or two.