Sometimes I am ashamed to have ever been a mental health professional

Earlier this year I joined a group for mental health nurses that has a facebook page.  They like to post interesting news articles on mental health in Australia, particularly ones that relate to nursing.  Today’s one was:

Emergency Departments Failing Those Who Have Attempted Suicide

Have a read.  I think the study is exactly spot on!  Both with what I’ve been through personally and witnessed professionally.

Yet the comments on it were atrocious!  So many of my fellow mental health nurses are just so stunningly delusional about what goes on in the public health system.  Some deny it happens altogether and just say these people complaining must all be druggies and/or suffering from antisocial personality disorder who don’t like waitin a short while to be seen.  (this is ignoring that people who have attempted suicide are usually in urgent need of medical attention and are generally triaged as category one, so assuming they are even conscious when they are brought in, they rarely have to wait).

Others gave the usual garbage about the suicide attempts not being genuine attempts and are just attention seeking self harm (ignoring that most self harm is not attention seeking and that the survey asked consumers if it was a suicide attempt as opposed to self harm and those surveyed had no reason to claim it was suicide when it wasn’t – those who had self harmed, not attempted suicide were not included in the data on suicide attempts).

But they all pretty much claimed it didn’t happen where they worked.  I swear some people live in a fantasy land!  While I loved 3 of the 4 mental health places I’ve worked in, I would never for a second pretend that every single patient was treated properly by every single professional, every single time.  It only takes a handful of bad professionals to lead to the high figures of people who have been treated poorly – if a consumer sees a dozen or more staff during their hospital stay, only one of them has to be bad for the consumer to be traumatised by the experience.  And it’s more traumatising when other professionals deny what is going on right in front of their faces!

I must admit, part of the problems is many abusers either abuse consumers when no one else is around, or when there is only other people around who won’t be believed (such as other consumers) or when they are around other staff they know will turn a blind eye to it – abusers aren’t stupid.  They won’t abuse a consumer in front of someone they know will report bad behaviour.  But to deny it happens because they personally haven’t seen the mistreatment?  That’s just plain incompetent ignorance.

and it’s exactly why I went into mental health in the first place – because it seems that the profession is full of people who either turn a blind eye to the abuse that occurs, or people who delude themselves into thinking it doesn’t happen.  It’s heartbreaking though that so many people fall into one of those two categories.  I want to stand up for the consumers who other professionals won’t listen to and I want to educate my colleagues on the devastating effects of denying the abuses and denial of treatment some people go through.

Anyway, I’m going to go to bed – have to be up in five hours and Sammie has given me her killer sore throat so not feeling the best.  And if I stay on any longer, I’m going to tell people in an online “support” group what I really think of people who say bullies who drive someone to suicide are not at all to blame for the person committing suicide.  I hate people who defend bullies and can’t see that the bully is to blame for the trauma the victim suffers.  Good night all.

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