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Mother tells how crisis mental health line would just ring and ring

Rochelle Brown, who has struggled to access help from Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT). Photo: Rochelle Brown

Rochelle Brown, who has struggled to access help from Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT). Photo: Rochelle Brown

Rochelle Brown

“The phone would just ring and ring and ring.”

That was one Norwich mother’s experience as she desperately tried to access crisis services to help her mental ill health.

Rochelle Brown, who lives on the Mousehold estate in Norwich, suffers with borderline personality disorder and has been under the care of Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) for four years.

“I had to wait to see anyone for quite a long time,” Miss Brown, a mother-of-two, said. “I was quite quickly diagnosed with borderline personality disorder but I wasn’t told how that would affect me or my life. I was put on bipolar medication without being told why or having it explained to me.”

Miss Brown, 29, said her distress was further compounded when five appointments were cancelled just 10 minutes before they were due to begin.

“It’s a lack of compassion,” she said. “I know everyone says they really stretched and don’t have any money but for me it’s the lack of care. I’m terrified of using the services and they’re the people I’m supposed to be trusting but I don’t feel like that. When I’ve tried calling the crisis line it would just ring and ring and ring.”

At a board meeting held just a day after the release of the trust’s CQC report last week, chief executive Antek Lejk said staff were being moved from other areas to support crisis services.

He said this would ensure calls were answered and the most vulnerable were helped.

But Miss Brown said: “They don’t seem to take into consideration how serious my mental health is. They ignore the fact on a weekly basis I try to hang myself and try to self harm.

“I don’t have any confidence left in them.”

Mr Lejk previously said: “We want services which are provided for those who most need care. “Some resources will need to be moved around. We need to re-focus our capacity on helping those most at risk. My biggest concern is in the past we have kept people waiting.

“What I don’t want people to think is that our staff will not look after them. I don’t want people to be scared they’re not going to be looked after.”

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