Through the eyes of a carer for someone with a mental illness

20 people later…


Something that always strikes me about Mental Health Services is how many different people you can end up dealing with, this means Chris having to explain his feelings/history etc over and over again to different people when it’s very hard for him to say it the once. The Crisis team is probably the best example for this, made up of a number of different people, all working different shifts, handovers in between and of all different professions and skill levels. There is absolutely no consistency with the people that visit in the slightest, and it has been known before in a week we have seen a different person every day, this in itself is distressing for Chris who would rather be left alone, hates being asked the same questions over and over again. He often gets annoyed and I can’t blame him because if someone I didn’t know or hadn’t met before walked into my house and asked the following questions I would find it hard to answer too.

  • How are you feeling today?
  • Do you have any suicidal thoughts or plans to self harm?
  • Can you keep yourself safe?
  • Do you think your medication is helping?

That’s to name a few, and while sometimes Chris even being awake is too much he gets distressed trying to answer the same questions over and over to different people who have no idea really who he is and aren’t around long enough to really find out. In fact it has been known when they have asked for his history, for Chris to turn around and say ‘look in my notes it is all in there’

Surely when you are dealing with people that are vulnerable and often find it hard to engage with one person let alone a different one each time, isn’t it better to try and keep to the same people so they have a clear picture of what he is like and he can get their trust and explain how he is feeling properly without as much worry. Not to mention that 20 people later everyone you spoke to had differing opinions on what helps and what doesn’t and what the next steps are to the point even I am confused as to what is going on and it’s not me with the mental illness.


Author: acarerseyes

I am a mum to four gorgeous girls, and a carer to my former partner of eight years, Chris who has a mental illness, BPD. I blog my experiences.. life is tough! We live in Greater Manchester, UK.

5 thoughts on “20 people later…

  1. I could not agree more with you on this issue, part of one of my biggest issues with mental health care in the UK is the lack of continuity of care within NHS services. It use to anger me so much a few years back when I would have an appointment for a psychiatrist only to end up seeing some SHO on a rotation and never meeting the consultant, although my local hospital have since changed now and patients always see the consultants, the trainees are left to ward’s and A&E.

    Of course, now the problem for me seems to arise with crisis care, different people on the phone, and different people turning up at your front door asking the questions you have referred to, more often than not I want to say, “Read my notes before you knock at the door.” This is something I am planning to highlight next week when I go to Westminster as part of the Mind Charity Crisis Care Talk.

    • Let me know how it goes, I would have loved to of been there myself but there isnt any way I could get my lot looked after. Wishing you the best of luck and I hope they blooming well listen x

      • Thanks, I shall no doubt write up something on it the next day, I am looking forward to giving my voice, also a friend of mine is coming as she has experience of using the crisis team on behalf of me!

  2. Hi this is often a problem in Care also. I am a rapid response carer for people with spinal and brain injuries. One of the clients I go to, has Biopolar Disorder and a spinal injury. I have known and cared for him on an as and when needed basis. He constantly struggles with the fact, that he at times, he can have a different carer each day. He also struggles to find a carer who can understand the way he is and his mood changes. To be fair, my company have been really rubbish at informing/training carers on Mental Health issues, so anyone who has never suffered or come across anyone with any kind of depression or disorder before, just does not know how to approach or work with this client. So, this is mainly why it goes wrong so many times. It is a very stressful and upsetting situation for both client and carer, when it does go wrong. Also, the client was having to explain to each new carer about Biopolar and how it affects him etc, now he has a leaflet which explains Bioploar up in his house where only carers can see it, and he has updated his care plan, which he insists on new carers reading before they even go near him.
    I suffer with Borderline Personality Disorder and depression and have come across so many different doctors, councillors health professionals and I am sick to death of people asking me the same questions over and over again and having to answer them everytime. So, I also know how Chris feels in that respect. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all do as my client does, carry a care plan around with us and give it to whoever is due to see us and say “before you come anywhere near me, read this” lol. Maybe Mental Health Services should think about maybe having 3 or 4 people who know a set of clients really well so that there is always someone on shift who knows him. Obviously, I know this isn’t really for you to tell them, but it just goes to show that if I can come up with that idea just while I’m typing, then why can’t they work something out?
    Sorry this is all a bit a long, but I just really wanted to share my experiences with a similar problem. I hope it makes sense :/. I hope that things become a little easier for you all. I like to read your blog and see how you are all getting on. You are one strong, amazing woman, I don’t know if I would cope as well as you seem to be.
    Take care

  3. Sounds like Joined Up Thinking needed! Unforgivable in this day and technological age!
    The skeptic in me wonders if technology likely to be used by pharmaceutical companies to identify likely patients to target with special offers. If sales can find info on patients surely NHS can.
    Good luck with it all Sarah….RESPECT!

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