I saw the following headline to an article from The Independent, today, linked to from Facebook.
Some mental health services are telling patients: ‘If you really wanted to kill yourself, you would have done it’
This to me is totally unacceptable, even if the reason is chronic underfunding that means staff do have to make unpalatable decisions about who gets treatment and who does not. I would advocate that if it is necessary to not accept an individual for treatment because of lack of funding, then they should be told, “We are sorry but because this service is not funded adequately we are having to prioritise those whom we feel are at even more risk than yourself.” I have no problem with asking someone, “What has stopped you killing yourself?” This helps identify protective factors in this human’s own ecosystem.
I am sometimes asked if I will see people who self harm or have thought about suicide. The answer is that I will see them as long as their GP knows I am doing so. I do not aim to replace what mental health services should be doing but rather give something different and show that those who come to see me are valued and worth caring for. However obviously my skils and experience from my days within Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services have not gone away.
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