"Provision of mental health care."

About: Durham, Darlington and Tees Tees, Esk And Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust / Adult mental health

(as the patient),

I have Borderline Personality Disorder and this is what happened to me recently.

I saw Dr at 10am for a general update regarding my mental health. Gave me piece of paper with Mind and Insight phone numbers on. I contacted Mind who arranged a telephone assessment for Friday 26.

The next day I had telephone assessment by Mind. They provide counselling courses which run for between 6 & 8 weeks. but they think I need longer term help so they can't really offer me anything. Will see if they can find any other help which may be beneficial for me.

A couple weeks later saw Practice Nurse relating to a dressing needed for a self harm issue. She said she would contact the Access Team to see if there was anything they could help me with. Needed a night in A& E, again relating to a self harm issue.

Several days after that: Telephone assessment by a member of Insight Talking Therapies who I contacted via a self referral. Unfortunately nothing suitable as she would recommend long term help which they don't do. However she considered me 'high risk' so got in touch with Crisis, who said I could phone them if needed, also spoke about self referral at Roseberry Park. She also got in touch with the Access Team who said I should refer back to the Mindfulness information from a DBT course I had previously attended. Staff from Insight made me an appointment with a Dr at my practice for the next day as I was considered to be a 'high risk'.

The next day: appointment with a representative of Living Life (part of MIND), not really suitable as thinks I need long term care rather than short term courses. However I put my name forward for 2 courses.

Went for appointment with Dr (not my usual one) as arranged by member of Insight. Dr kept saying I needed to start making plans, and could only be helped if I also helped myself. I felt bullied into making another appointment for the following week, and given details on a piece of paper. As I was leaving the surgery I gave the piece of paper to the receptionist and told her to cancel it as the Dr was talking about making plans but I couldn't make plans as I didn't know if I would still be around as I had overdosed.

A member of staff from the surgery phoned my home (I was not there at the time) and left a message asking me to make another appointment (also threatened with getting police involved). However later that evening the 'out of hours' doctor phoned and had chat, said to phone him if needed.

One week later: Appointment with Dr which I had cancelled at reception still showed as being active. I cancelled it online as I wanted to see my usual GP, rearranged for the next week.


The previous dr (who I hadn't seen before) said he could only help me if I helped myself. So below are the organisations I contacted for help and their responses.

Mind - nothing suitable, need longer care rather than 6 week courses.

Living Life (part of MIND) as above.

Insight - nothing suitable.

Alliance (Stockton) previously stated that they don't have anything suitable.


A mental health Nurse Practitioner had previously said people who have Borderline Personality Disorder are in the top 10% of the population who will die by overdosing, whether intentional or not.

I have been unable to get any help from mental health specialists even though it was only 3 weeks ago that the police forced entry to my house as they were concerned for my welfare.

I find it hard to come to terms with the fact that I have a recognised and diagnosed mental health illness, together with acute anxiety, but cannot find any mental health services able to provide the help required, which is to have a mental health professional to talk to and offer advice for, say, an hour twice a month. I have recognised that I am entering a time where I need extra support (my father has been diagnosed with Alzheimers) which in itself is a step forward for me.


Update: attended surgery as arranged to see my regular dr. In the reception area there were some cakes to buy/donate in aid of McMillan Big Coffee Morning event which had passed. It was actually World Mental Health Week but there was nothing at all about it in the surgery. I asked to see the Practice Manager/secretary and asked why this was. Apparently the person organising the 'coffee morning event' hadn't been able to do it as planned so were holding it a week late. I said that World Mental Health Week was to try to stop the stigma attached to mental health problems and to hopefully get the right support for people and it was no wonder that there is a stigma towards mental health when even a doctors surgery couldn't put up one poster about it. I thought it was disgusting that a doctors surgery could sell cakes for a charity that deals with physical illness but couldn't even put up one poster relating to a world event concerning mental health.

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Response from Corinne Aspel, Lead Senior Nurse – Patient Experience, Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust

We are sorry that you feel mental health services were unable to meet your requirements. Unfortunately we are unable to answer for other organisations and for those issues can we suggest you talk to the agencies involved.

With regard to our Crisis service, it is unclear whether you contacted them or not. If however, you did contact the Crisis team, and are unsatisfied with their response, we suggest you contact us so that we can look into this further on your behalf. Alternatively, you may choose to ask your GP to make a formal referral to the TEWV Mental Health service in your local area.

If you would like us to look into your concerns further please contact Corinne Aspel on 0191 3333566 or by e mail corinne.aspel@nhs.net

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Update posted by Brindie22 (the patient)

With regard to your response: I have used the crisis service quite a few times but it seems as if they follow a 'script'. I am asked what the 'trigger' was to my feelings, even though sometimes there isn't one. I am advised to have a relaxing bath, then a warm milky drink. When I do get in touch with the crisis team I have usually tried these methods and am phoning them as a 'last resort' as I have used all my usual 'coping methods'.

I have also been told, by a member of the mental health team, that because I have completed a DBT course which is the recommended 'treatment' by NICE, there is no further help available from them which is why I am now on the care of my GP. I actually believe that doing this course was the worst thing for me to do as I now seem to be excluded from any further mental health help. My own view is that although this is the recommended treatment it surely isn't the only treatment?

Response from Corinne Aspel, Lead Senior Nurse – Patient Experience, Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust

When contacting the crisis service the clinician will take all the relevant information to establish the nature of the crisis at that time and formulate with the caller the most appropriate way to help them. In very few cases would we advise baths and warm milky drinks unless trying to reintroduce good sleep hygiene and then occasionally it may be considered.

Having completed a DBT course is not an exclusion to further input from the Crisis service but it is dependent on the circumstances at the time.

As mentioned in the last post if you would like to discuss this further then please contact us.

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful

Update posted by Brindie22 (the patient)

Dealing with mental health issues can be very hard, both for the patient and the 'care provider'. When I am unwell I can rationalise with myself that all the negative thoughts and feelings I have are true, so I don't think I need any input via mental health services. It is only when I 'come out' of these thought processes that I realise how unwell, irrational and how much of a risk I was to myself. Unfortunately when I am feeling well again I don't need, nor are offered, the help of the mental health services! It's a case of when I am well I don't need mental health care but when I'm unwell I don't recognise how much I do need the help.

I can understand from a clinicians point of view how hard this must be to assess the risks. However due to the DBT course, I can now recognise that, due to personal circumstances, I am going to be entering a very hard time both mentally and emotionally so I am wanting to put some 'safe guarding' procedures in place. And this is where I now have a problem. Because I am thinking clearly and rationally it seems that I am unable to access the mental health services, apart from the crisis team. Whereas I am trying to get help before I do reach a crisis situation. It just seems to be so hard to get any help from mental health professionals, even though I have a diagnosed mental health illness and I am aware I may be entering a dangerous, and distressing time. I am intending to see my GP again this week and hopefully she may be able to help with 'a plan of action', as surely it would be better to avoid a crisis situation before it happens?