"My experiences as a mental health service user"

About: Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust / Adult mental health

(as the patient),

I am a 52 year old man and have suffered from mental health problems for many years.

I've been to St Marys House and I have been on a number of programmes including touchstone and journey from January to June this year. Generally I feel they are doing things right for me at the moment.

Journey was ok but I felt treated like a child at times. The whole situation needs looking at again. I understand having warm ups but we played some sort of game beforehand which was for kids.

I am on medication which I feel works sometimes and doesn't others. It's meant I've put on weight which isn't good and I get out of breath and find it difficult walking uphill. It makes me feel forgetful and sometimes I feel like I'm getting senile.

I'm involved with Community links but I'm only seen once a fortnight which often doesn't feel enough. Sometimes I feel listened to and sometimes I don't. It's all being going on a long time and I wish I could sit down with someone and get it all sorted out.

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Response from Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Rocket253,

Firstly, thank you for sharing your articulate and considered feedback here on Patient Opinion.

It sounds that although things have improved somewhat for you, you still feel that they could be better and they perhaps feel a bit “stuck” at the moment. What your comments also illustrate is just how individual people’s needs are and how we need to continually review people’s care to make sure we are meeting them.

I'm Guy Brookes, Associate Medical Director for adult services at the Trust and I've decided to do an overall response to your posting, after consulting with colleagues here.

You mention our Journey day service, so I immediately made sure that the people in charge of the group saw your posting. I'd like to share with you a response from Alan Hirons, who leads on the service. He asked me to pass on his thanks for your feedback, and wanted to say this:

“We completely understand that individual group members (depending on their individual circumstances and life experiences) will face different levels of challenge to each other at different points throughout the Journey day.

Each section of the day has a reason behind why we as a group engage in various activities and tasks. Some activities are aimed at creating an effective and safe group atmosphere. Other activities are aimed at creating opportunities to explore specific issues around what people currently do and what they'd like to do with their time, and how that relates to their personal experiences and/or difficulties.

However I'm really sorry that at times you felt like you were being treated like a child; that was absolutely not our intention. We're always mindful of the distressing thoughts and emotions that can occur as part of the challenge of engaging in formal therapeutic group work, but we would absolutely never wish anyone to feel patronised.”

Alan has also offered to hear more about your experiences should you so wish, as feedback from people who use our services is the best way we have of improving them.

Moving to your comments about medication; as I imagine you know all medications can have side effects. These side effects can vary from medication to medication and from person to person. It's not uncommon for people to try more than one type of medication before they find one which not only treats their symptoms but also is acceptable to them in terms of the side effects it causes.

I think that given your comments it might be a good idea to have your medication reviewed, and I'm more than happy to see that this takes place.

It is difficult for me to comment on the care provided by Community Links but it does seem that you feel your current level of support is insufficient. So, I have contacted them, made them aware of your posting and offered them the chance to respond via our account here.

When someone is receiving care from our Trust, they should have someone identified who is responsible for ensuring that all the professionals and different organisations providing support work together to meet their needs. In your case it does appear that it would be helpful for you to talk about your situation with this person to see if there's a way we can get things moving forward again.

I think the best way to start would be talking to our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS). They can put you in touch with Alan from the Journey day service, they can approach the professional responsible for your care and arrange a review, or they can put you in touch with me personally.

PALS can be contacted on 0800 0525790 or on pals.lypft@nhs.net. I've already contacted them about your case so if you choose to, they'll be expecting your call.

I realise that I've focussed slightly more on the negative aspects of your story, and that things aren't all bad! I'm very glad you decided to share your experiences here on Patient Opinion, but I would also like to use this opportunity to, as you say in your own words, sit down and get things sorted out for you.

Best wishes,

Guy Brookes

Associate Medical Director for Adult Mental Health Services

Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust