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I have had the same few items languishing on my to-do list for 2 months. I just scored one of them off by emailing in a complaint to the CMHT exec. In a way, I think it might have been easier had it been a phone call. Anyway, I finally did it.

In March I called the home crisis team number I’d been given for emergencies. It didn’t go well….

To  whom it may concern,

I would like to make a complaint regarding the mental health trust.
I had an assessment with [specialist] in early December 2015 about the best options for therapy, how to go forward etc. At the end of our appointment he gave me some resources for self-help while waiting for therapy to begin, including a card for the CRHT (Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment Team) to use in emergencies, with the [local area] number circled on the back. The front of the card clearly states “The team will see you 24/7 in the community”.

Late on Saturday March 12th, I had a dissociative episode, and worrying that it would get worse and I would hurt myself, I called the circled number. Due to my anxiety,and especially compounded when dissociating, I am not great on the phone. The person who answered it (I can’t remember if they gave a name, but they were female) kept mishearing me or misunderstanding me, which made my dissociation worse (at one point she seemed to think I had children, and asked if they were safe). After a frustrating attempt to describe dissociative symptoms while dissociating, during which I was accused of not cooperating because I said I wasn’t feeling anything, I asked to see someone from the crisis team. It was then I learnt, for the first time, that in order to actually see one of the team, a “service user” must be pre-referred for community support, so all I could have was the phone call, which was making me feel worse. (In the end I hung up because I was scared it would push me past being able to recover that night.)

My complaint is that at no time before I needed to use the Home Treatment Team was I told that I needed to be pre-referred before I would qualify for home visits. Since a “service user” is unlikely to call a crisis number unless they are actually in acute crisis, this seems like a very risky policy. In my case, it made my acute mental health crisis worse to find that out after being further agitated by invasive questioning and allegations during the phone call.

I would appreciate it if you could reply to this message, as it is not an easy thing for me to make contact.
Yours faithfully,
Nina [Childish]
I feel rather silly complaining two months after the event, but also feel much better for having sent it. The kicker is, I have another really quite serious complaint to make about the same CMHT which I’m going to address in person at the start of next month. Two complaints already and therapy doesn’t even start until June…
[edit – sorry, no idea what’s happened with the formatting]
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