Hospital worker's mental health concerns

A HOSPITAL ward clerk today criticised health services in Suffolk for failing to offer support for her mental health problem. Carole Bloomfield, 42, who works at Ipswich Hospital was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder last year after periods of depression for most of her life.

A HOSPITAL ward clerk today criticised health services in Suffolk for failing to offer support for her mental health problem.

Carole Bloomfield, 42, who works at Ipswich Hospital was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder last year after periods of depression for most of her life.

During her teens she spent two years as an inpatient at the former Hightrees psychiatric hospital in Ipswich, and since then has had ongoing symptoms of mental health disorder including periods of severe depression and anxiety.

In February this year her symptoms worsened and she went back to her GP, who later referred her to Suffolk Mental Health Partnership Trust (SMHTP).

She said: “I have been lucky - I am not so unwell I can't hold down a job, and have been able to function relatively okay.

“I know the trust offers treatments which I know can be beneficial to my condition, such as cognitive analytical therapy.

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“But I have just been told that I am likely to have this illness for the rest of my life and there is nothing they will do.

“They told me that they can't offer treatment and if I feel depressed I should call the Samaritans.”

Ms Bloomfield, of The Row, Great Wenham, was prompted to contact the Evening Star after reading coroner Peter Dean's criticism over the treatment of Shelia Hammond, who committed suicide in 2005 just days after being discharged from St Clements hospital.

Following the inquest into her death, chief executive of SMHPT, Mark Halladay, said mistakes had been made, and admitted there had been a lack of communication in the case.

Robert Nesbitt, SMHPT director of community engagement said the trust has now arranged a meeting with Ms Bloomfield to discuss her treatment.

He said: "It is inappropriate for us to discuss people's medical records publicly, but we do urge people to contact us if there is an area of our service which they have a comment about - good or bad.

“I believe Ms Bloomfield has already exercised her right to follow our complaints procedure and we are meeting with her shortly to talk about her concerns."

What are your experiences of mental health treatment in Suffolk? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Panel - Borderline personality disorder and cognitive analytical therapy

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is officially recognised as a mental health disorder and symptoms include emotional instability and extreme 'black or white' thinking.

According to mental health charity Mind those diagnosed with BPD have a higher risk of committing suicide than the general population as well as being at risk of self-harm and have a higher than average chance of succumbing to alcohol or drug abuse.

Some patients with BCD have shown to improve after undergoing cognitive analytical therapy (CAT), which is offered by SMHPT for patients with other mental health problems.

CAT involves a therapist working with the patient to focus on understanding patterns of behaviour that can arise from mental health problems and adapt to cope with them better.

Director of mental health services for SMHPT Sandra Cowie said: “CAT is available within the trust's services and some people who have received this therapy have said they have benefited from this.

“However it is not currently widely available and this in an area we will be looking at in the new year as part of our development of psychological therapies.”

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