Transitioning from CAMHS to Adult Mental Health
I first started seeing CAMHS at 14 through appointments with my Psychiatrist. I was experiencing upsetting visual, auditory and tactile hallucinations. My CAMHS doctor referred me to the Early Intervention Service (EIS): they help people with psychosis. I was with them for three years leading up to my eighteenth birthday when I would transition to Adult Mental Health Services.
I found this transition extremely hard and challenging. I’d been seeing EIS professionals once a week or more for three years and I was apprehensive about how I would cope with seeing specialists less frequently. I believed that the EIS professionals really understood how I felt, and I was nervous that my new care professionals wouldn’t understand me. Whilst with CAMHS I had spent several weeks in a mental health hospital and I had made some good friends there. I remember talking to them about the transitioning experience: they all felt that this wasn’t handled well. I recall, whilst transitioning to adult mental health, some of the professionals who had worked with me at CAMHS started to leave other people had to take on their roles but they were confused about what transitioning work to do, and how. Staff shortages really affected my transitioning journey.
I remember a meeting with my new care coordinator from adult mental health. We discussed the types of things I had been doing with EIS and CAMHS. I felt she didn’t understand my situation and didn’t grasp how my disability could affect me as I needed more help than my peers. She didn’t take or put many notes on the system. When she left my next care coordinator did not know what I had been doing or how I had been feeling. This all happened quite soon after I went to Adult Mental Health Services so I found it very hard to trust that my care team would put proper notes on the system or understand my disability.
I believe that medical professionals may find it hard to understand me, but sometimes it seems they don’t even try. Is this my fault? Other Government professionals in education seemed to discriminate against me by not providing opportunities compared to my peers. Why?
I have, however, found that volunteers (for example Riding for the Disabled) do understand and help me enormously. The Theatre Shed team also understands me and makes me feel part of society. Similarly the Scope partnerships offer much encouragement and are helping to reshape perceptions of the disabled in employment.
What would it take for Government bodies such as those involved in transitioning and in education to provide the love and care that charities such as the RDA and The Theatre Shed provide through volunteering? Please share your thoughts below.