For me it all began in January 2019, well this was my first major episode in New Zealand, and to be honest my first ever major episode.
It started with alcohol. Couple of wines to numb the mind. Then I found myself cutting at my arm. It felt good. I was pretty drunk. During this I told my friends about how I was feeling. They arrived at my place quickly, also contacting my partner during there commute who also arrived at my place. You see I usually live alone.
That’s how it started.
The day after I was taken to the doctors my my friend and partner. I told him what had happened. He made a referral for me to see a counsellor / psychiatrist. What I didn’t know was my friend had made his concerns vocal to the reception who in turn spoke to the doctor after I left.
This caused the Mental Health Act to come into force.
That same day I was “invited” to the acute inpatient mental health unit for an assessment. This assessment was to assess my risk to myself and others, basically whether they had to lock me up in the inpatient hospital. I said all the right things.
I was allowed to go home and wait for a psychiatrist appointment which would be a month away.
And that was it…
For a month I was on my own, in limbo, no medication, still the same as before. Nobody from the medical profession checked on me during this time, the only people were my friends and partner. I could have easily caused more damage to myself during this period.
That’s were the gap is. From initial presentation to the psychiatrist appointment. I wonder if lots of people have attempted suicide during this period? What can be done to fix this gap? What can be done to help people going through mental trauma? Not everyone will be as fortunate as me and have friends and a partner constantly checking on you.
Overall, apart from this gap in services I have found the New Zealand Mental Health team here where I am excellent. They have genuinely shown concern for my health and pointed me in the right direction. I just feel for those that have nobody and have to wait it out for an appointment, they are the ones who need the support.