NHS patients at risk of suicide discharged without adequate support

Patients coping with severe mental health conditions that mean they are afraid they could harm or kill themselves are being discharged from NHS care, unprepared and without support in the community.

Psychiatrists said falling numbers of mental health beds and the loss of specialist units for more complex patients have created pressures to discharge, which cash-strapped community services have not been able to meet.

“When I was in the hospital, they were chucking people out at a rate of knots when they were clearly unwell,” said Jenny, who has spent more than two decades in and out of the mental health system and asked to stay anonymous.

“They didn’t prepare for me being discharged at all. Then I self-harmed really badly because I wasn’t safe to be home yet. I still don’t feel safe now, I’ve got no care plan, nothing.”

She has a complex diagnosis including personality disorder, depression and alcoholism, and tells The Independent she doesn’t feel the services offered in the community benefit her condition.

“They are telling me that I am not engaging [with treatment] which is the new buzzword that they use along with recovery,” Jenny said she is now considering discharging herself from treatment entirely.

“I have finally had enough, they are actually causing me more stress and anxiety,” she said.

Dr Ranga Rao, a consultant interested in addiction and dual diagnosis and the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ lead for acute inpatient care, said a lack of support outside hospital could increase pressures elsewhere.

Full story: Independent

Author: Philip Challinor
Posted on: 20th February 2019