Assessed to death

27 Jan

Your periodic reminder that a mental health assessment is neither neutral nor is it help.

Whilst carrying out an assessment may count as “contact” or “activity” for the purposes of a service’s records, it is not help. If you yank my sprained ankle back & forth to determine whether it is sprained, that hurts.

A mental health assessment is not help for the person being assessed. It may “help” the professional to form an opinion or shape a treatment plan, but it does not help the person who’s required to go through (probably for the umpteeth time) their (probably most awful) experiences.

Offering an assessment is not the same as providing help. An assessment is an imposition, a chore, a task, a trial, when somebody is already in a weakened state. It is a process you are putting someone through as a gateway to possibly accessing help. An assessment is not help.

Provide help. When people are struggling or in crisis, provide help. Scrutiny and questioning is not help. Help people.

Since I first came into contact with psychiatric services almost 10 years ago, I have been assessed numerous times. There reports, all reaching the same conclusion, all making the same recommendations for ongoing care, treatment and support. Yet each new professional wants to start from scratch and assess me again. Each new service wants to kick the can down the road and assess me again, sometimes over weeks, without providing any help. I haven’t had any mental health care for years – no medication, no therapy. Yet all that’s on offer is more assessments. Many more assessments.

I am being assessed to death.

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