Mental health – hearing voices

Challenge Sponsor

This challenge is sponsored by Keith Wilson of Haven Dundee and Bekah Faldon of the Hearing Voices Network Dundee.

Challenge Scenario 1

Jeremy is a 52 year old man from London, who has been living alone in Dundee for 15 years. He moved to Dundee shortly after being released from hospital following a suicide attempt, brought on by a particularly difficult divorce from his wife. During his time in hospital, Jeremy was diagnosed with multiple personality disorder and bipolar disorder. Not long after Jeremy was discharged from hospital, he decided he would move to Dundee to start anew and to be closer to his sister and her family for support.

Jeremy attended various community support groups in London, however he was not referred to any up in Dundee. He did not know what community support groups were available to him in Dundee, therefore he sought  support from his local GP practice.  However, the practice GP did not have access to his medical records for four months, due to a miscommunication between practices and health professionals about the transfer of Jeremy’s records. This meant that they were not able to refer him to any health professionals for further treatment or social day hospital services. The GP did not offer open access alternative services that require no referral (such as a 3rd sector support group) as they did not know themselves what is available. Jeremy felt extremely isolated and abandoned during this time, leading to a rapid deterioration of his mental health with regular thoughts of suicide. As a result, Jeremy was prescribed medications subject to frequent alterations. Eventually his mental state stabilised, however they also brought heavy side effects, such as a dramatic change in body weight and memory problems, which he did not know how to manage himself. Jeremy would often forget whether he had taken his required daily prescribed dosage or not, leading to occasional accidental overdoses.

Eight months after his move to Dundee, Jeremy finally received an appointment with a psychiatrist, but after one session, he was referred instead to a psychologist, believing this would be more suitable for Jeremy’s recovery. This took a further six months of being on a waiting list before he was seen. After receiving six sessions with the psychologist, he was told that there was no more they were able to help him with and he would need to speak with his GP again to figure out another method of treatment. This cycle of referrals to various health professionals still continues now, leaving Jeremy feeling no closer to recovery than the day he first approached his GP practice in Dundee.

Challenge scenario 2

Jenny is a 32 year old lady living in a small village outside of Dundee. Her husband works away from home three weeks in a month. Jenny is severely depressed and has psychotic episodes after experiencing severe childhood trauma.

Jenny is stuck in a loop. She has received many referrals to numerous health professionals and social day hospitals but each time she must start from the beginning again, leaving her unable to progress. Jenny is unaware of any social or community groups that she can be involved in, that would greatly benefit her wellbeing and assist her with her daily struggles.

Some days she feels so depressed and fatigued that she has difficulty getting out of bed and dressed. Jenny therefore often struggles to complete daily household chores and often finds it difficult to leave her home, experiencing high levels of anxiety and episodes of psychosis. When her husband is home Jenny can feel more motivated and finds it easier to leave the house with him by her side. When Jenny’s husband is working, a neighbour sometimes checks on Jenny and will occasionally arrange to accompany her to any appointments she may have, however, Jenny does not like to ask this of her neighbour. This has led to Jenny missing many weekly appointments and becoming discharged from many support teams and day hospital services as a result.