World Mental Health Day: Rainham man, 50, on his experience of being sectioned

We spoke to a 50-year-old - depicted here by a model - about his experiences of being sectioned

We spoke to a 50-year-old - depicted here by a model - about his experiences of being sectioned - Credit: Archant

It’s World Mental Health Day. The Recorder spoke to a 50-year-old Rainham man, who did not wish to be identified, about his daily struggle with what he calls the “treadmill” of mental health problems.

“It takes so long for people to realise that something is wrong and you do ‘need help’,” he said.

“People think you are having a bad day, but how many bad days on the trot can you have?

“By the time they realise, it’s too late, and you quickly find out who is still close to you, and who no longer has any need for you.

“It can take so long to be ‘sectioned’, and even if you press the buzzer to get into the hospital of your own free will you’re told: ‘You can’t get in. That’s not how it works.’

“So back you go and the turmoil carries on for you and your family.

“Eventually, you are sectioned, and then, when you feel better, no matter who presses the buzzer – either you trying to get out or someone coming to see you – you then cannot get back out. When you wanted to go in you couldn’t, and when you are ready to leave you can’t. That provokes madness again, even if you were not totally mad in the first place. Being locked in can send you very quickly towards just that.

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“Once they have finished with you, all the group meetings and one-on-one meetings that come long after you have left hospital, then that’s it. They say: ‘Ring the Samaritans’. When you have no money and it’s not free to call, then you can’t. The real help you need is just not there – it really is like there is nothing they or anyone can or will do.

“I think that there should be a dedicated place you can just drop into. I am sure there are hundreds, if not thousands, who need immediate help. Even talking can wind you down and away from the ‘up’ of the illness.

“You can only talk so much to even close friends and family, and eventually you leave them alone as you don’t want them to hear any more.

“All that leaves is sufferers who suffer in silence – not mad, even though some are – but most are just frustrated and alone.

“You are let go by the mental health team. You are better, but not ‘cured’. I often feel that, even whilst on medication, you fight against yourself to stay ‘better’, as you do not want to go around in a circle again.

“It is a fight you do daily – it is tiring, but it is just part of the mental health system and the ‘mentally ill treadmill’.

“We are not all on it, but I am sure at least 85 per cent of us are.”