BRONWEN'S LAST LETTER
The letter below was Bronwen's final cry for help.
This letter may be triggering to some.
I am writing to you out of desperation and torture.
I am extremely disappointed in my care, especially over the last month. I feel like my voice has not been listened to and services are ignoring my families cry for help.
We are desperate.
I don’t know how much clearer we can make it, how much louder we can shout it, how many more tears and breakdowns it will take. It’s going to be too late. We have been massively, massively let down. Our lives will never be the same again.
It’s too late to save me now. There are only so many times someone can ask for help. There’s only so much rejection a person can take.
I have written a story about my mental health experiences recently within Cardiff and the Vale. I have been encouraged to publicly share this. I don’t know what to do for the best. But I need this world and other people to know how badly services need to change. Patient voice needs to be listened to more. Many lives could be saved if we were listened to and taken seriously. Unfortunately mine is no longer one of them. I need to you know how badly and unprofessionally we have been treated. I will share my story with you below. This is the story I’ve been encouraged to share publicly. If you don’t want to read it that’s fine...
Mental health services in Cardiff:
It saddens me to write this. But I’ve kept quiet too long. Things need to change and they need to change now.
This is a personal story of my experiences within mental health services in Cardiff, especially with the crisis team.
Please don’t read if you’re not in a good place yourself as i don’t want to be triggering.
I have tried to speak vaguely about events and have massively played down how bad things really are in order for my story to reach as many people as possible. To raise awareness. To fight for change.
Things started going downhill when my care team decided to take away my cpn (community psychiatric nurse - basically a set person/ nurse that you build a rapport with and they support you to live as well as possible independently and in the community). I was given absolutely no notice of this and was told this news over a phone call which I initiated. It was just dropped on me on a Thursday at 4pm. It is well documented throughout my notes that I struggle massively with change and that I struggle especially on Fridays. How was doing this a good idea and in my best interests? This was about 3 months ago now. Since then I have been fighting to have a cpn back. I need the stability and consistency of having the same person to contact. My requests have mostly been ignored or I’m told no. I explain why I need one, how it benefits me and I’ve done this calmly and rationally. Still I get no as a response with no real reason other than they believe I wasn’t using it effectively enough.
Since I’ve not had a cpn , my mental health has been the worst it’s ever been. The number of crisis’ I have found myself in and the danger I’ve put myself and other through as a result has been shocking. Still 3 months later and I’m still being denied the help despite the evidence that I have clearly gotten worse since this support was taken away. What more will it take to be heard or listened to. I honestly believe it’s going to be too late. It is too late.
I’ve been telling professionals that my care plan isn’t working, that I want it reviewed. But I’m being denied any say in my care and treatment.
We were crying out for help. I was actively trying to end my life and responding to voices. My body is scarred with his name. I was a missing person twice in a week. Made attempts on my life in that same week. I was in the mids of a huge crisis. I was trying to hang myself. I was cutting deep into my skin and needing stitches. I was collecting blood and writing in it. I was taking overdoses. I was sat on top of bridges.
I will never forgive services for the way they left us to cope. It’s all a bit of a blur to me but my family will never be the same again. My dad cannot unsee the things he saw.
We are all scarred for life. We needed someone to step in. We needed help. I wasn’t safe and neither were my family. I was doing things that risked their lives too. I was a danger to be around. No one would help us. Why?!
My parents became my security guards. I literally had one of them watching me 24/7. The doors and windows were all locked and the keys hidden. Things I could use to harm myself were removed. My dad slept in my bedroom against the door so I couldn’t leave at night. I wasn’t allowed to leave the house at all. My dad would sit in the car watching the door if I had an appointment. This was going on for weeks.
My parents mental health massively dipped. My mum began having intrusive thoughts. She talked of giving up work, well giving up life. Everyone was arguing and shouting. I will never forget some of the things we all said in rage. They are playing on loop in my head. I can’t make it stop. I understand my parents reactions and behaviours but they will never leave me now. As will the image of me covered in blood, wounds all over my body, rope burns around my neck and being out of it from various medications I’d taken - that will never leave my dads head.
We desperately needed help. We were asking for it left right and centre. Sometimes I would even be sent home from the general hospital without a proper mental health assessment even though my parents were asking for one.
We needed help and we were denied it. We were told no.
I’m fed up of hearing ‘hospital heightens you’re risk’. How?! They say ‘behaviours become more risky in hospital’ because of the safety net feeling patients get. Especially those with difficulties regulating their emotions. This may be the case for some people but I don’t believe this is true for me. I feel like I am being treated with a blanket approach. Why won’t they stop and listen to what benefits me. My risks do not increase in hospital at all and they have no solid or valid evidence of this. In hospital everything is documented meaning you can’t get away with anything. They don’t know everything that is going on daily at home while you’re not under close supervision so how can they compare?! Risks are higher at home! When urges or voices get loud it’s easier to give in to them at home.. but of course this then isn’t documented. I really believe the staff just don’t want the hassle and the paper work. All they talk about is the long term. When someone is that desperate and suicidal do you really think they care about the long term? Surely it doesn’t take a genius to work that out. Somehow these ‘experts’ haven’t quite worked this out yet. Put it simply to them... we may not have a long term!!!
To top it all of my care team have also now deemed it ‘in my best interests’ for police to arrest me rather than take me to hospital if they find me in the mids of a crisis again. They think having a criminal record and writing off my future is ‘in my best interests’. It’s disgusting. I work hard to get better and am trying to do something with my life. I want to get better but I need help. They won’t help me. Why? It’s going to be too late soon. It really is.
The police have spoken with my family and are totally disgusted with the proposal from health ‘professionals’ to arrest me. They were pushing for me to be admitted. They are the ones that see me in the mids of a crisis. They are the ones who see me at my worst. Their voice was also ignored.
The mental health system in Cardiff is shocking. Especially the crisis team who work out of Hafan Y Coed. I haven’t heard a single positive story from that team. Instead I’ve been told to ‘have a cup of tea’ and ‘stop phoning’. I’ve been told ‘we can’t help, you need to take responsibility’ .. yes we get this but do you seriously think in the distressed state I get in that I think or care about that? And these are supposed to be the ‘experts’. What makes them an ‘expert’? They act like they know me and know what’s best for me. They don’t at all. What happened to patient voice? I’m ignored and not listened to. I’m treated like dirt. I’m left to feel unwanted. Staff are rude and blunt with me. They genuinely don’t care.
Of course there are a handful of staff who are amazing and they deserve more recognition. As do South Wales police, they’ve been incredible, without their help I would definitely be dead right now. Unfortunately in the mental health system here people like this are very very rare to come across.
Things need to change! Professionals need to change. Attitudes need to change. Professionals are adding to the stigma. How is that right ?
Why can’t you help someone when they are so desperate for help. This is how you can prevent lives from ending. I know for a fact if someone had helped me and my family things would be different. We are all so so scarred now. I will never be able to forgive services for this.
I have got plenty of other stories and evidence from past experiences and also stories from other friends I’ve made since being ill and their contact with crisis teams and mental health services. One jumped off a bridge shattering both her legs after outright telling professionals what she was going to do.
Another was told she ‘wasn’t really ill’ and was ‘attention seeking’ despite cutting her throat. Things need to change and they need to change NOW. Do the crisis team even know what a crisis is?!
There are simple things we need answered. Why are we not being involved in decision making in our care? I am the expert in me. So listen to my voice? Why are families wishes and opinions being ignored? They know the patient better than anyone.
What is a crisis to professionals?!
When will you actually step in and help? How far does it have to go. How many lives need to be lost?
So that’s my recent story put shortly.
We would really appreciate a response.
Please advise us on how we/my parents can take this further in my absence.
Thank you for reading,