Black Moon….!

May 18, 2008

The Black Moon refers to the ‘Egg of Lilith’ which is the source of souls in the Neon Genesis Evangelion. I make mention of this as the nights that I have just done were made up primarily of tortured souls wanting help.

Mad or bad? When we attend jobs with people who are barking at the moon or trying to take their own lives, we try and get them help. Usually this means lots of talking and bags of empathy to steer them towards ‘Mental Health Services’ or the local ‘Crisis Resolution Team’.

Unfortunately most of these patients have taken on board some alcohol or have self harmed in some way or another. This means that the Mental Health Services etc. will not touch them with a barge pole stating that they need to be “assessed in A&E”. In the vast majority of cases this is the last place they need to be taken to.

Obviously if they have injured themselves seriously then they need to be dealt with at A&E but normally all they have done is scratched themselves or had a couple of pints/shots of alcohol. But in my eyes this is a convenient excuse for Mental Health Services to move the problem away from their door and dump them at good old A&E!

Over the years I have seen all the extremes of the ‘Mad and the Bad’ but I know when someone is genuinely desperate for help. And its these people who are being let down. We are in the process of developing a new ‘Care Pathway’ for mental health patients….but it will not work so long as the Mental Health Services play their own rules!

The new Mental Capacity Act (2005 updated to 2007) will set out new guidelines for Ambulance Services to care for people with acute or long term mental health issues. Again this will fail so long as we keep having to take them to A&E.

I still feel a bit shaky from the other night after confronting a woman in her kitchen who had a very large carving knife pointed at her throat. She was in bits! She was really at the end of her reasoning and it took us a long time to convince her to put the knife down. Usually we can switch on the empathy for each job and then switch off as we head for our next one. But this woman touched a nerve in me.

‘There but for the grace of God go I…’ It could have been me standing there in the kitchen with a knife to my throat and I thank God that my life is not too bad. But the thing that got to me the most is the complete lack of care/empathy/understanding/compassion from the Mental Health Services. I don’t want to go into detail as it may breach confidentiality issues but, even though I am not a qualified Mental Health type person, I know that this woman was in need of help from the right people….not in A&E!  

This was one of several mental health incidents that I attended over two nights. The others were not as traumatic but none the less still frustrating with them ending up in A&E.

If any readers are in the Mental Health profession I would value your opinions.