Can anyone else relate?

We have just received a phone call from my son’s mental health team to say he has been admitted to a psychiatric unit under a section 2. Because he has refused to give consent to share, we aren’t allowed to know any details. As usual, they ring us to give a snippet of information and no more.

I’m a carer for my husband with bipolar, my son had to leave our home after physically assaulting my husband in January. We then have had calls telling us he had been asking for a gun to shoot my husband, which devastated him. Wouldn’t tell us any more, we are so tired of this.

Why do they ring us at all if they are going to withhold vital information. We are constantly on tenterhooks.

Has anyone else experienced this and how did you cope?

Thanks in advance

Hi Misunderstood,

I don’t have any experience of this.

However, I remember you posting around the time when the MH team contacted you re him wanting a gun etc At least now he is sectioned, your husband can relax for awhile.

I hope they are able to stabilise him again and that he then agrees for information to be shared with you. Very hard when you don’t know what is going on and are only getting snippets of information.

Sending cyber support your way.

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Hi Melly,

Yes I think we are safe for the moment. However a section 2 is for up to 28 days. My husband has now been updated that our son has been transferred to a mental health hospital in Sussex, but can’t share any more than location.

Unfortunately my husband is all unbalanced again, when you aren’t being told the truth, what we end up believing can be far worse. My husband told them unless they gives us information then he isn’t interested in talking to them.

I don’t blame him.

Thanks for your support.

I would ring the CEO of the hospital and make a formal complaint at the stupid phone call which has seriously upset your husband’s condition.

Hi BowlingBun,

We lodged a complaint before about the mental health team’s gun threat phone call. My husband’s psychiatrist was appalled, she told them to ring us. They did ring us to apologise but still wouldn’t tell us anything. I really don’t get it. Why bother to ring in the first place?

And now I am even more confused that they are happily giving us the address and phone number of the hospital my son is in, but refusing to tell us how he became sectioned. I find it even more odd that my son believes his Dad to be an evil narcissist who breaks into his brain to manipulate his thoughts, but gave his mobile number as next of kin.

Poor husband has only been on lithium for around 4 months, but difficult to tell if it’s working with all this drama.

I would still ring the CEO’s office so he knows what is going on in his hospital. I’ve done this twice about mum’s care, spoke to his PA, things sorted in an hour! Surely it’s obvious that if your son has been sectioned at the moment he is not well enough to decide who they can and cannot contact?? If in doubt there could be a Best Interests meeting? I once had to come home early from a desperately needed holiday with my brain damaged son as the hospital wouldn’t talk to me on the phone although I had POA and mum was mentally OK, but poorly. Strange how if they wanted me to do something, especially relating to discharges, they would ring me up!!!

Hi Missunderstood, I’m sorry you’re still getting hassle over all this.

I can understand you being contacted to alert you to a possible (but unlikely) threat: as your son stated an intent to do harm to your husband, they had to inform him, even though the threat was not at the time enough to section him. But letting you know he’s in hospital under a section won’t change things, as it’s clear your son won’t want you to visit, and they can’t tell you anything about his care. Which also precludes your taking on any care for him once he’s discharged. In fact, it could be a breach of confidentiality. I would definitely contact the hospital over this, as BB says.

Hi Bowlingbun

I’m so sorry to hear about your situation.

Yes I agree it would be a good idea, however he has now been transferred to Sussex while we are in Devon. There are so many people and departments involved, I’m not sure where to start. The person who rang yesterday was someone in the AMU ward at our local hospital who was telling us where he was being transferred. I’ve emailed the hospital in Sussex and hope I can get a bit further.

Yes I can relate to this. A while ago I spoke to a man about my mental health. After a assessment in order to determine if I would qualify or not I was discharged. I was also told to see if the recovery college could help me. Looking back I wish I had pursued the referral.

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Axminster to Chichester is 114 miles, that’s a long journey especially as most of it isn’t on motorways. As I’m in the New Forest I often stay in West Sussex or in Devon, near Axminster, so I know the roads very well indeed. You don’t even reach the M27 until you are almost in Southampton! With the holiday season approaching, you need to do everything possible to have him moved nearer to you asap. One August It once took me 4 hours to crawl from Bridport to Wimborne. The garden centre just south of Bridport has a nice coffee shop and toilets, so does and there is a coffee shop and toilets just east of the roundabout where the A35 crosses the A350, and if you need a coffee shop there is another garden centre at Cadnam, you can come off the A31 where it becomes the M27, Junction 1. Cadnam is about a mile along the road to Southampton that way.

Hi BowlingBun,
I’m not sure anyone is going to listen to us. He’s in the priory and I know they have several different hospitals, some a lot closer, so not sure why he wasn’t placed more locally.
I suppose it doesn’t matter as he won’t want us visiting and it’s not clear what’s happening next.

I got a response from a psychiatrist there who sounded sympathetic, however reiterated that without consent he couldn’t share much, but would probably want lots of background information from us.

I’m really concerned about my husband. He is drinking quite heavily several times a week, he just wants to blot it all out. Every time we get contacted it sets him off.

Hi Missunderstood,

In that case I suggest you contact the psychiatrist and ask that either all contact is through email sent to you directly or that you are sorry but for the sake of your husband’s MH you wish for no contact at all. Insist whatever you decided is recorded on your son’s records in a way that all accessing it can see. Alternatively you could ask for your phone number to be removed from his records.

@Melly1 That’s a great suggestion and I would contact my son’s Psychiatrist - if I knew who that was. He seems to get passed around a lot from service to service.

The issue is that we have received so many phone calls from people, agencies and medics involved in my son’s care that we have lost count.

The homeless department at the council, the volunteer at the YMCA, STEP team, Home treatment team, nurse from AMU ward. Now he isn’t with any of services.The agencies release him and pass him on somewhere else, then they call us because they want all sorts of information about his background, which we have already given. No notes seem to be retained. Not really a fair exchange, they call us at the drop of a hat to ask loads of questions, but we get little back.

I know it isn’t personal and they are bound by confidentiality. But it’s very hurtful to be kept out of the loop when your child is so vulnerable.

He has my husband as next of kin, they always seem surprised when I take over the call, like they didn’t know he had a Mother.

My husband was feeling a lot better on his meds, then they call again. It’s really distressing to be rung out the blue to be told that your son has been sectioned and going to hospital, then being told they can’t give any more information. Part of me wishes we weren’t told anything but of course we do want to know, but REALLY know.

They also always call early evening at the most inconvenient times such as when we are driving, having sex or just about to relax with a rare takeaway. If I was being paranoid, I would imagine it is deliberately timed.
:grinning: :grinning: :grinning: :grinning: :grinning: :grinning:

Oh I see. Do you screen your calls? I have my mobile set to only ring when it’s a recognised number (eg someone in my contacts). Most professionals ring from ‘unknown’ numbers. At least then the phone wouldn’t ring when you were otherwise engaged. You could check for missed calls/voice mail messages at a time convenient to yourselves.

Sounds like MH professionals work in the same way as Social Care - never bother to read the file - always expect family to fill in the background information … because of course we have all the time in the world to do their job for them (NOT)

@Melly1 The numbers can be either, sometimes they are private numbers. sometimes it’s a mobile number. The problem is that my husband is in contact with his own mental health providers such as Psychiatrist’s secretary to arrange appointments and the GP practice to attend the blood tests he needs being on Lithium. They often won’t leave a message and letters have gone astray, so phone is best.

I’m not much help, as my phone is on silent while seeing clients.

All out of ideas then, I’m afraid.

@Melly1 Thanks anyway. I value the feeling of being supported more than needing advice to a complicated problem.

In that case, put an answerphone message on your phone, saying that in view of being increasingly distressed by calls from people who don’t say who they are, you are no longer taking calls. Please send an email to (your email address) giving us your name and contact details, and the reason for your call. You will then call back asap.

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Hugs. You are in my prayers.

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Hi misunderstood, sorry to hear what has happened to your son but also to the rest of the family as I know what the MH can be like, I have had my fair share of a roundabout with them and many arguments with them, taking it to the top.
There are several things to try.
1,contact your local mp or am to help
2. Try the police as they might be able to give you some advice
3,contact your local carers centre, someone might be able to help
4,contact citizen advice
5,try a solicitor as they can give you some free advice.
6. Try contact other people and society like mind as they should be able to help.
Log everything that happens like a diary, I do it and it helps to fight back when you need it.
Good luck.