Woman's Tweet About Going to A&E During a Mental Health Crisis Has Prompted Others to Share Their Stories
It’s never easy to seek treatment in the midst of a mental health crisis. It takes a lot of courage to ask for help when you’re at your most vulnerable. When you aren’t given adequate help or are faced with ignorance from those who are supposed to help you, it can leave you feeling worse than before.
On Aug. 6, Emily Reynolds, columnist at Huck Magazine, tweeted about her experience with seeking mental health support in the midst of a crisis at A&E, the U.K.’s version of an emergency room.
just spent six hours in a&e to be given a printed out webpage containing the exact crisis number i called earlier to get referred to the hospital, love to engage with mental health services
— Emily Reynolds (@rey_z) August 6, 2018
Reynolds tweeted that she went to A&E and left six hours later with a printout of a webpage titled, “Are you feeling the strain?”
sorry to go on about it but honestly going to A&E in psychiatric crisis and leaving six hours later with nothing except a print out of a webpage titled "are you feeling the strain?" might actually be one of the funniest things that's ever happened to me
— Emily Reynolds (@rey_z) August 7, 2018
Reynolds told The Mighty she wrote the tweet in frustration with her experience, but also thinks it’s important shed light on the reality of seeking help for many people.
“When you go to seek help you’re probably already at your lowest ebb, so not being able to get that help and not even being given a sympathetic ear is really, really awful,” Reynolds said. “I know that when it happened to me, and has happened to me in the past, it has left me feeling worse. Asking for help is incredibly brave and strong, and I wish people would realize the strength that it took.”
Her tweet went viral with over 25,000 likes and four thousand retweets. Reynolds said it was “massively overwhelming” and “rage-inducing” at how many people the tweet resonated with. Many people messaged her to share how their loved ones sought help, but didn’t receive it and later died by suicide.
“It’s really not fair that so many people have to go through this kind of experience – and that so many people have died because of it,” she said. “It’s just awful. And even though I know how bad the system is first hand, I have to say I was shocked at just how many bad experiences people had had, and how different they all were.”
While some people have had positive experiences and are able to receive the help they need, this isn’t always the case. Many people shared their stories of seeking help from emergency services, general practitioners and other medical professionals when they’ve been in a crisis situation.
An ambulance came to collect me up off of train tracks that I was lying on. I had a five hours wait in A & E to be asked these four questions and be let go:
• Do you have a boyfriend?
• Do you have a job?
• What’s your favourite colour?
• Do you promise not to do it again?
— Payton Quinn (@ShartiTheClown) August 8, 2018
the 1st time i saw a psychiatrist after YEARS of begging my gp was after a suicide attempt. he told me it was good bc now my case would be taken more seriously ??? why must we wait until someone literally tries to kill themselves b4 helping ?? what if i had succeeded? oh well?
— zv.info (@rat__spit) August 9, 2018
When I first went to my GP about my Anxiety, I was told to buy a book on amazon. just over 2 years later, today! They’ve finally given me specific medication for my Anxiety (other meds was for depression I don’t even have that bad) currently on 6 month waiting list for CBT????
— ???????????????????????? (@MakariDelRey) August 8, 2018
A printed out booklet on the definition of anxiety from the early 90s and breathing techniques
— Bethany ???? ???????????? (@bethanylister) August 8, 2018
I went to a GP in a v student populated area, told her that my antidepressants weren’t working, I was seriously depressed and had started self harming again and she asked if I’d ever considered joining a gym and as I was leaving called me back to say ‘don’t self harm again’
— rhi (@rhiannonmae) August 8, 2018
I once went to (dragged myself to) the GP during a really bad depressive episode and he told me “these things have a way of sorting themselves out” ???? Also a pharmacist once said that anti-anxiety medication isn’t any good and “you should just have a glass of milk”, thanks hun
— ·????¨·.·.★????°*????ﾟBekah (@BekahCH) August 8, 2018
In a letter to ERs, Mighty contributor LaRee Etter wrote that people with mental illnesses are often treated as “nuisances” or attention-seeking instead of people with true medical needs. She said:
It’s frustrating, ER, to be treated with stigma and stereotype by an institution which is supposed to assist us. When we come to you we need help, urgent help. Our needs are no different than your patients with diabetes or heart disease. Yet we are treated differently, less urgently, less objectively and far too often less compassionately.
Despite many people sharing negative experiences, there are some people who have benefitted from emergency services.
For one positive story, my brother was going through horrific suicidal thoughts and depression, so he started taking drugs. We found him virtually unconscious. The paramedics that came chatted to him for such a long time and it was the turning point in his life.
— Gem Morson (@themothercooker) August 8, 2018
Reading these stories makes me realise how lucky I was to be taken seriously by my GP, given meds and receive counselling. My MH issue was not as severe as some described here and I am shocked that ppl in crisis are being so let down.
— Emma Redwellystone (@redwellyfeats) August 8, 2018
Even if you’ve had negative experiences or have read about others’ negative experiences, it’s important to know there is still hope out there.
“Even in those moments when we are surrounded by darkness and we feel hopeless, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel,” Mighty contributor Christina Siewert wrote after seeking help at the ER and subsequent group therapy. “There are always ways to feel better. There are always people waiting to catch you when you fall, willing to help you back up again.”
Photo via Twitter