So how do we acknowledge that mental health issues leads to addiction? Not in all cases but certainly in the majority. Mental health is such ‘a can of worms’ or ‘needle in a haystack’ ambiguous to the extreme, a diagnosis is practically impossible, the endless tests and paperwork take a huge toll on the patient. Then what?
For my son, he slipped through the net many times and received no help, other than ‘talking’ to his Dr or a team at Turning Point, (substance abuse). Dan suffered with depression, anxiety to the point he couldn’t go out sometimes without a friend or myself. He was at constant odds with himself, he was told to make ‘ choices and turn his life around. He was unable to make those ‘choices’ not everyone can, he would need to be cleansed of his demons to make a ‘choice’. Ridiculous words which are used constantly in this modern world, almost creating the answers, is that right? NO!
He went to rehab funded by the council and Turning Point, but he said before he went there, “Mum I’m doing this for everyone else, not for me”. He was there 6 weeks then went to ‘secondary’. While at rehab he was cared for, counselled, fed, given drugs to help with withdrawal, in a safe bubble. Then released to go to ‘secondary’ where he was free to do what he liked. Does that make sense? No of course it doesn’t, he went to the first pub he could find went back worse for wear, and kicked out! No where to go. I picked him up and he stayed with us for the night, there was no way he could live with us, he was too damaged. So back to the Council and back on the list, no dates, no accommodation and no support.
Dan would have been homeless had we not funded private accommodation, the Council at that time were not accommodating homeless people, they had a process which had to be adhered to in order to go on a list! He was sent to a so called support unit in Salisbury which housed alcoholics and drug users, a great place to ‘make choices’ when drugs and alcohol were handed on a plate. So many of these lost souls died of overdosing, suicide, and hopelessness. Support? I don’t think so! Dan had a tiny room, with a bed and not much else.
Residents, at the Salisbury hostel, were constantly going to him for help, he even saved someones life when he overdosed, by injecting him with adrenalin (or something). But still he was told ‘to make choices’.
His mental health by this stage was dangerously low, without support he couldn’t function and certainly couldn’t ‘make choices’!
Eventually he was given a flat close by us, it was a nice flat, and he was very happy in it. His girlfriend lived in Westbury and was very supportive she trained in mental health, she really tried to help him, but tragically it was to late, his health was deteriorating and he was in a lot of pain, sleeping most of the time. He hadn’t the energy for a relationship and ended it for her sake.
I found him dead on the 18th March.
In conclusion was he let down by the System ? YES! He should have been given the help he needed, not left flying in the void.
Mental Health needs to make great changes in order for it to work properly, it appears to be very complacent. The whole idea is to HELP not HINDER!