thefairymelusine: line drawing of a knight lying by a bank of flowers (Default)
I had my last proper meeting with C. last week. C. is my care co-ordinator/occupational therapist/social worker type person with the Early Intervention Service in my area, which means she sees me anything from fortnightly to several times a week and checks up on my mental health, general wellbeing and similar, and helps me with certain practical things to do with it.*

I complain a lot about NHS mental health services, both on the internet and in person, but Early Intervention Services are good in many ways. I have some problems with the theory behind them (if you treat people intensively for three years after their first incident of mental illness, especially psychosis, they are far less likely to have ongoing mental health issues. My problem is basically personal and a fear of needing mental health services again in later life). But they have many good sides. For a start, you see the same person/people regularly, sometimes several times a week, less if you're doing better. The meetings are informal, for the past 19 months my meetings with C. have most regularly been had over a cup of coffee in a local cafe. If you have not had a medical problem that requires you to go to a centre/hospital or similar regularly, you may not know the difference this makes. Not having to pay a bus fair, for one thing, but also being able to talk about my worries and concerns and wellbeing in an environment where I feel safe, and which isn't tainted with memories of all the things that have gone wrong.

And seeing the same person/people? Really important. Some of my most depressing experiences with the NHS have been due to constant changes in terms the people dealing with my case, and the fact that you may see someone with only a handful of notes and no knowledge of important aspects of your condition or even personality/interests/life at the time. Seeing one or two people over a period of time and getting to know and trust them with your concerns makes a difference.

And even that isn't enough if it isn't the right person. But C. is the right person. She has helped me fill in innumerable forms, listened to the most irrational worries, been there through one major and one minor breakdown, come to see me in hospital, calmed my parents down from a blind panic, talked to my boyfriend's parents about  my issues, overseen me moving out, starting work and doing numerous other things. She has  always listened, and always managed to be encouraging about the right things while not being patronising. She's what the NHS should be.

If any of you have the misfortune, either for the first or a subsequent time, to suffer from mental health difficulties, I hope you have an equivalent to the Early Intervention Service. And, especially, I hope you have someone like C.


* as mentioned before in this blog I suffer from a c ombination of mental health conditions which require medication and have in the past required hospitalisation.
Mood:: content

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