Sunday, June 9, 2013
JERSEY 2014 AND BEYOND - SUICIDE AND ATTEMPTED SUICIDE - WHAT IS THE REAL NUMBER?
"JERSEY 2014 AND BEYOND"
ARE THE SOCIAL ISSUES BEING ADDRESSED?
SUICIDE AND ATTEMPTED SUICIDE - WHAT ARE THE REAL FIGURES?
HOW ABOUT THE FUNDING AND CARE WITHIN JERSEY MENTAL HEALTH? ARE PATIENTS RECEIVING THE PROPER CARE?
Jersey is a very affluent Island but is the money finding its way down the line? I have given the Jersey Evening Post plenty of stick in the past, not least their editorials, but the one on Friday 31st May really stood out. I reproduce it below. The staff working for Jersey Mental Health have a very difficult task. I can tell you that what the family of Islander Julie Sheila Brown describe below is 100% correct. I have been through the same experience. I have helped a friend through the different stages of care in Jersey's Mental Health. I have been left shocked - angry- emotionally drained and above all gobsmacked at what I found. I have seen the bad and the very good of Jersey Mental Health. Things must change. I have come across some excellent staff working in very difficult circumstances. They need support. They need to be listened to. If they have concerns I hope there are mechanisms in place whereby they can raise these concerns to the relevant people.
Commissioner Clyde -Smith has called for Jersey Mental Health to be investigated. I fully concur with this. I hope that members of staff would be able to take part in this as their views are absolutely imperative in moving the service forward. Something has gone wrong over the decades. Now is the time for openness on these issues. Families are suffering. I have raised my concerns with senior management of Mental Health and would willingly take part in any investigation as should anyone who has come into direct contact with the service.
The Jersey Samaritans had over 22,000 calls for help in 2012. This is simply a staggering number. Even if we say half were diverted calls from the UK it's still a staggering number. Lets say they had 12,000 calls locally is that not a huge problem? I would like to know what their previous figures were.
That would be a 1,000 calls a month if we halved the figure. We are in an economic meltdown with no signs of anything getting better soon. All classes are feeling the pressure. Families to feed - mortgages to pay and ever mounting bills. I have heard for some time now that Jersey has a very high suicide rate but what is the real figure? We need a politician to start asking the questions. Even if we halved the figure to 6,000 that still a very high number. Remember behind every phone call their is a person in some form of distress. They must not become a number. Some questions must be asked and asked now.
With the funding available are our Social Services able to employ the best in their field or are they trying to paper over cracks with the best they can find? All the issues concerning Mental Health and other related issues must be addressed and addressed now. Lives are being lost. The Staff I have come into contact with have my up most respect. The work conducted by Mind Jersey is also a very important cog for the families and patients who suffer from mental illness.
How many attempted suicides have there been in the last 5 years?
The time has come to ask some very difficult questions - who will ask them?
All is not rosy in the garden of Jersey.
We don't like talking about these problems especially as we are a clean cut Financial Centre
When does the Investigation begin?
Feel free to share ones own experiences if you so wish - minus names. Thank you
Part Time Investigative Journalist
Courts have a health dilemma
Friday 31st May 2013, 3:45PM BST.
If the widely quoted figures are correct, one in four people will experience some kind of mental health problem during their lives.
Some will be at the lower end of the spectrum – a brief episode of mild depression, disturbed sleep or poor appetite, for example. From there the sliding scale goes upwards.
As a sufferer of late-onset paranoid schizophrenia, Islander Julie Sheila Brown, who last week appeared in the Royal Court charged with offences that took place in 2011, is at the severe end of the scale.
However, instead of receiving the care that she so desperately needed, her daughters say that she was treated poorly and without dignity and humanity at St Saviour’s Hospital. It was so bad that they begged for help, but got none. Instead, they say they were relieved when she was imprisoned.
That any family should be made to feel this way is, quite simply, unacceptable. So much so, in fact, that Royal Court Commissioner Julian Clyde-Smith took the unusual step of calling for Jersey’s mental health services to be investigated so that lessons can be learned and damage to prisoners with mental health problems can be avoided in the future.
The learned Commissioner is absolutely correct and the authorities must now not just take note, but also action. That this should be allowed to happen once is bad enough. But Ms Brown’s case is not the first and, unless serious action is taken, it most certainly will not be the last.
Just days before that court hearing Jersey experienced two other cases which have glaringly similar features. In one, the son of an Islander who fell to her death from a north-coast cliff a few days after being discharged from St Saviour’s Hospital told an inquest that his mother was failed by the Health department.
In another, which just so happened to appear on the same day, residents at Victoria Cottage Homes said that they had signed a petition to have a vulnerable man who died in a house fire taken into care because of concerns about his mental health. That petition, submitted before the man’s tragic death, was ignored.
Taken individually these cases merit a complete review of mental health services in Jersey. Taken together the need for action is indisputable.