Having spent many years in psychiatric units, Michelle is now a published author, motivational speaker and campaigner for better mental health services. From her own experiences, Michelle has discovered that some of the services she’s needed to access have been denied to her as a result of her criminal record.
I’ll try to be brief but it’s important that you get an idea of my past. I have various convictions and an extensive psychiatric history. I received my first conviction in 2006 before I’d been properly diagnosed with a mental health condition.
On that day, I’d taken a knife to my secondary school and stood at the school gates saying that I was going to kill myself. I was then sectioned under the Mental Health Act.
During the time I spent in mental health institutions, I was subjected to sexual abuse which has led to PTSD and given me my borderline personality disorder diagnosis. On release from these places, I was given very little support, something I still struggle with today as I don’t have a close family network.
Despite the above, I’m a really driven, motivated person and I’m currently studying with the Open University for a BA (Hons) in English Literature. However, due to my criminal record, I’m finding it difficult to get work; not even a voluntary role. I’ll be honest, my thoughts have in the past turned to crime, simply to be able to feed myself – that’s what the system does to people.
Recently, I’ve been denied therapy due to an assault which took place last year. At that time, I’d taken an overdose and gone to hospital. After treatment I was asked to leave the A & E department but I tried to explain that I needed to stay as I didn’t feel that my mental health was that great and I believed there was every chance that I could harm myself if I was home on my own. When the Consultant threatened to call security I became even more upset and punched him as I just didn’t feel I was being listened to.
Earlier this year, I went through a spate of contacting the NHS Mental Health Line for help. Sadly, it was felt that my call’s weren’t ‘genuine’ enough and I was dragged off to court again. Imagine being taken to court by the very people who were being paid to prevent people like me killing themselves – welcome to the ‘mental health service’.
As a result of the above, I’ve become an active mental health campaigner, hoping to change the system for the better.
Watch Michelle’s video
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