"A&E for Self Harm"

About: St John's Hospital / Accident & Emergency

(as the patient),

I would like to share a poem with you that I wrote about my experience when I've gone to A&E for help with self-harm. The attitude I was met with simply increased my distress and I feel like Health Professionals who treated me (particularly mental health professionals) need to know we need to be treated with compassion. I didn't hurt myself to gain attention...I was ashamed that I needed medical intervention...and I don't think they ever realised that. Thank you for allowing me to share this poem.


I don't want to go because you always make it clear,

"Attention seeking behaviour" is the reason I am here,

What you do not see is how hard I've truly tried,

To treat it on my own, for fear a label is applied.

The last time this happened you said I'm wasting time,

No insight whatsoever inside this head of mine,

You...they...them...none of you have a clue,

No gentle compassion when you ask "What's wrong with you? "

It went from my Nurse who could very clearly see,

I needed desperate help or who knows where I'd be,

She doesn't pass her judgement for it isn't hers to give,

She only cares for me.....she cares that I should live.

You tell me to seek help but what you don't understand,

It's you that fuels my fear from the answers you demand,

The answers that are written in each wound that you neglect,

You're holding my heart yet you haven't found yours yet.

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››


Response from Jeannette Morrison, Head of Patient Experience, NHS Lothian

Dear Angel252,

Thank you for sharing your experience of your attendance at the Emergency Department at St John's Hospital.

I have found your creative way of expressing how you feel about how you were treated very informative. Your poem has been most helpful,raising awareness of the need for appropriate compassion and understanding in the circumstances, which you describe. It also further reinforces the need to place the individual at the centre of what we do. I have passed this on to the clinical team so we can all benefit from your insight and improve practice in this regard; with the overall aim of delivering a more compassionate and better informed approach for fellow patients attending in similar circumstances.

Thank you again for your feedback and poem.

Kind regards


  • {{helpful}} of {{total()}} people think this response is helpful

Updates, changes and questions related to this story