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'My husband cried on the phone, begging for help'

A man who experiences regular mental health crises says an NHS scheme designed to offer support during emergency episodes has become broken.

The trust running the service says a crisis team offers immediate support in an emergency, and a 24-hour helpline.

But when Mark Doody, who has bipolar disorder, cried "down the phone, begging the team for help", he was told to call an ambulance, his wife said.

The trust said a 999 call could sometimes be the appropriate action.

Trish Doody cited a "dreadful" deterioration in mental healthcare where the couple lived in Redditch, Worcestershire.

She said while her husband was able to get support if an emergency happened "between 9am and 5pm", assistance became difficult outside of those hours.

Mr Doody said his condition meant he experienced a mental health crisis every three months. He has also made suicide attempts.

Mental healthcare provision in the county had gone downhill over the last 20 years, Mrs Doody said, with her husband adding: "The system is just broken really."

Healthwatch Worcestershire, which helps hold the NHS to account locally, said it was "exploring" whether there was a problem with the crisis helpline, and was also aware of delays for those seeking one-to-one counselling, which it said the trust was tackling.

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Source: BBC News, 22 March 2022


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