Sui­cide-threat woman told ‘team had clocked off’

Wales On Sunday - - NEWS - AMELIA SHAW news­desk@waleson­line.co.uk

A YOUNG woman says she turned up at a North Wales hos­pi­tal say­ing she wanted to kill her­self, only to be told the men­tal health team had “clocked off”.

Rhian Mai Wil­liams, who has a his­tory of men­tal health prob­lems, said she went to Ys­byty Alltwen in Tre­madog af­ter feel­ing she was “los­ing con­trol”.

But the 25-year-old said when she ar­rived at the mi­nor in­juries unit at 5.10pm she was spo­ken to by a fe­male mem­ber of staff through a speaker in the wall and was told noth­ing could be done to help her be­cause the men­tal health team had “clocked off at 5pm”.

Ms Wil­liams was di­ag­nosed with de­pres­sion at 16 and has since been di­ag­nosed with an anx­i­ety and panic dis­or­der and post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der (PTSD). She has bor­der­line per­son­al­ity dis­or­der (BPD) which­makes her “very im­pul­sive”.

The qual­i­fied chef said: “I couldn’t be­lieve how she was speak­ing to me. I had been strug­gling all day to keep con­trol. I was so up­set and I ex­plained to her that I wanted to kill my­self but she just kept say­ing there was noth­ing she could do.

“I just find it dis­gust­ing that she didn’t even come out to talk to me. I un­der­stand she wasn’t from the men­tal health team, but surely she should have some sort of ba­sic train­ing?

“If I’d have se­ri­ously in­jured my­self it would have been dif­fer­ent, but I feel like when it comes to men­tal health no one cares or un­der­stands.”

Miss Wil­liams says she called the hos­pi­tal af­ter the in­ci­dent, in early Au­gust, and ex­plained her state of mind but she was told it was go­ing to take a min­i­mum of four weeks for her to be as­sessed.

A su­per­vi­sor for the clean­ing team at Nant Gwrtheyrn, she be­gan self-harm­ing at the age of 12 due dur­ing a “trou­bled” child­hood. She has tried to kill her­self five times – four times over­dos­ing on var­i­ous tablets and one time even try­ing to hang her­self.

Af­ter her third over­dose she ad­mit­ted her­self to the Hergest men­tal health unit in Ys­byty Gwynedd, Ban­gor, in July last year, but she was dis­charged af­ter just one month. Just two months af­ter be­ing dis­charged she took an­other over­dose.

“I want to get bet­ter,” she said, “but I don’t know how. I’ve had coun­selling but, as bril­liant as they were, it didn’t re­ally work. I had been see­ing a psy­chol­o­gist but I missed one ap­point­ment be­cause I was hav­ing a bad day with my de­pres­sion and they took me off the list.

“I’m on anti-de­pres­sants and anti-psy­chotics. I just want it to stop – it’s never end­ing and I’m just ex­hausted from feel­ing like this ev­ery day. Even on good days I know it can flip so eas­ily and on my bad days I can’t even get out of bed. I still wish it had worked the first time I tried to kill my­self. I can’t ever say that I won’t try again be­cause my BPD makes me so im­pul­sive.

“I just want some­one to be able to take my pain away – I want to be able to take some­thing to stop my thoughts in the same way as tak­ing a parac­eta­mol stops a head- ache. I just need some­one to try to help me but I con­stantly feel like I’m be­ing dis­missed. Men­tal ill­ness isn’t taken as se­ri­ously as phys­i­cal ill­ness.”

Sa­man­tha Wat­son, BCUHB’s Head of Op­er­a­tions and Ser­vice De­liv­ery for Men­tal Health Ser­vices in North West Wales, said: “While we can­not dis­cuss in­di­vid­ual pa­tient cases in any de­tail, we would like to apol­o­gise to Ms Wil­liams for the dif­fi­cul­ties she has ex­pe­ri­enced in ac­cess­ing sup­port.

“We en­cour­age Ms Wil­liams and any­one else who is un­happy about the care they’ve re­ceived to please con­tact us di­rectly, so we can thor­oughly in­ves­ti­gate and act upon their con­cerns.

“We have made im­prov­ing the sup­port avail­able to peo­ple in an acute men­tal health cri­sis our num­ber one pri­or­ity as we be­gin im­ple­ment­ing our men­tal health strat­egy To­gether for Men­tal Health in North Wales.

“To sup­port this we are work­ing with part­ner or­gan­i­sa­tions to de­velop com­mu­nity re­sources such as cri­sis cafes, sanc­tu­ar­ies and step-down ser­vices to as­sist peo­ple at times of acute need.”

Rhian Mai Wil­liams ‘has tried to kill her­self five times’

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