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"Bad experiences at A&E with mental health."

About: Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust

(as a service user),

In 2020 I was very very distressed. I have been hearing voices that was telling me to hurt someone who was very close to me. I wasn't coping with that. I was acutely suicidal, and I hated myself so much that I thought it was absolutely necessary that I need to kill myself first before I do that to anybody else.

I was living with my brother at the time who was so worried because of just how distressed I was. Him and my sister in law had to take turns to keep an eye on me 24/7 and they were not coping with the level of distress I was experiencing, they couldn't keep me safe nor other people's safety.

Eventually they took me to A&E, we waited for hours. When we finally saw someone and I told them what I was going through I was told I was making it up. I was accused of lying and just making up symptoms to get away with things. The mental health worker that assessed me explicitly told me that I need to be careful in what I'm saying, and they would report me to the police and I will be arrested because I didn't have anything mentally wrong with me and I will be responsible. Having already feel so horrible about myself due to everything I was experiencing, being told that made things so much worse. At that point I truly believed that I was the problem, that I need to be gone before I do any damage to anybody else and I believed that I just didn't deserve anyone to care and the mental health workers who saw me that night confirmed that.

My brother was lost. He was frustrated. They just thrown us out even though under those circumstances I really shouldn't have been allowed to leave A&E whilst I was clearly a risk to myself and to others. I got to a stage asking for help, talking about psychotic experiences that I couldn't understand and I was really distressed of experiencing, then to be told by mental health professionals that I was lying, or being dramatic it is absurd. That experience scarred me, and it means that in the years to come I became much more withdrawn and really struggled with talking about my experiences in the fear of not being believed again.

Few days later after that attendance at A&E I was sectioned. I attempted suicide. If someone have probably listened and just supported correctly earlier, things probably wouldn't escalate to that point. I could have lost my life. I could have hurt other people. But it was preventable if I was given at least a level of understanding and the right support.

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