Saying Goodbye to Mental Health Services

Hi everyone. October 10 is World Mental Health Day. In honor of this, many bloggers are writing about mental health this week. As a person with serious mental health challenges, I think I need to offer up my contribution too. However, mine will be a bit different, in that just last Tuesday I had my for now final appointment with a professional from a mental health service.

I did not usually share details of my less than stellar experiences with my psychiatric nurse practitioner on the blog, but let me say that my appointments, except for those concerning medication, over the past three years, have for the most part been useless. Maybe my expectations of an assertive community treatment team were too high. For those who don’t know, an assertive community treatment team is an outreach-based team that treats the most severely mentally ill, usually care-avoidant patients. As a result, a lot of the care they do is more like support and steering towards services than actual therapy. They do have a psychologist on the team, but the majority of clinicians are actually community psychiatric nurses.

Back when I got kicked out of the psych hospital in 2017, I did need such a team, as I needed lots of support in my daily life. However, once I’d moved into long-term care, maybe an assertive community treatment team wasn’t the most logical choice of treatment teams. And yet that’s where I ended up.

Not to say it’s all my or my referring agency’s fault. My nurse practitioner did flat out refuse to refer me anywhere else even when he should have realized he couldn’t provide the kind of treatment I needed. He also claimed we were doing “trauma treatment” by merely talking over my mental health struggles, which happen to be trauma-related, occasionally. In my opinion, it was neither specifically trauma-focused nor treatment.

Now I know that my staff and the behavior specialist at the care home are probably as capable as my mental health professionals were at helping me deal with my everyday instability. Neither can provide trauma-focused therapy, while both can provide a listening ear (my staff at my old care home at least often better than my nurse practitioner, in fact).

I did, of course, start my topiramate and pregabalin while in treatment with my now former mental health team. This I do credit the team’s psychiatrist hugely for. I don’t honestly think an intellectual disability physician would’ve been able to come up with this idea and I’m not sure a consulting psychiatrist would’ve gotten the idea either. Then again, now that I’m on a stable dose of both meds and only wanting to slowly decrease my aripiprazole, my agency’s intellectual disability physician can manage that.

All this combined got me to conclude that I don’t think I want mental health services anymore. If I or any of my current professionals ever change our minds, I can always get referred back to a mental health agency.

10 thoughts on “Saying Goodbye to Mental Health Services

  1. That sounds like a difficult choice. My (adult) daughter has refused help a lot of times because it does feel like they can’t offer what is needed. I’m not sure if this is because she can’t get what she needs or because she refuses to believe they can help her. Mental health is so complex and getting the right help is a nightmare. Having the right medication can be helpful though. I wish you all the best x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your supportive comment. I’m so sorry your daughter is in the same boat in a way. Indeed, the mental health system is quite complicated.

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  2. Sorry to hear about your about your experience with mental health services. 😦 It’s so complex. I hope everything works well for you now xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So sorry you haven’t had the greatest help and support from the mental health services. It is good that you have got to a point where you feel that you don’t need these services anymore. Good luck for the future. x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much. In a way, it’s good that I no longer need mental health services, but it’s sad that the reason is really that they can’t or won’t actually offer help beyond stabilization in my case.

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  4. Our daughter suffers each and every day. Started in her late teens, she is now 41. Still looking for answers. There is a place called Emily Wish in Great Falls, MT and she is on their waiting list. My prayers go out to you.

    Liked by 1 person

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