"Sligo Mental Health team and DBT"

About: Sligo Adult Community Mental Health Services

(as a service user),

When I was referred to the Sligo Mental health team over two years ago I was a very unwell girl. Although I was in my thirties and potentially a grown up I had absolutely no emotional maturity at all. I was locked into a state of anxiety, depression and feeling like I was living in the shadows for most of my life. I was diagnosed with PTSD, Borderline Personality disorder and depression. While I was never one for getting caught up in labels I did find it helped me understand myself. But then I had to work hard at it. That's where the support of an amazing Clinical Psychologist which I saw every week in Ballymote and who I built up a trusting relationship with. This woman was absolutely a godsend. I then started the DBT program in 2017 and the team involved in delivering this program where such wonderful people and not only good at their jobs but compassionate and down to earth people who did not look down on anyone.

The DBT programme really gave me skills that are a recipe for life, skills that not many of us learn growing up. I am now a completely different person who is confident and functioning as an adult thanks to this team. While I still get moments of anxiety I now have the skills to manage this. The only down side was the building in Sligo where the Group was held. I felt bad for the team and for the group. It was old and musty and there was damp patches in most of the rooms, but one room in particular the damp was so bad the roof and wall was crumbling, not exactly inviting, it was pretty disgusting really but thankfully the team all did there very best to make us feel comfortable.

Now on to a small negative side, when I was about six months into therapy I met with a stand in member of staff and this was not a good experience. I found them to be arrogant, rude and very condescending. I left that appointment in a state, feeling less than a piece of dirt and all I can say is if I hadn't had six months of therapy already done this staff member may have been a reason for me to run a mile or worse. The only reason I am mentioning this now is because this can not be allowed to happen. I know everyone has a bad day but when dealing with vulnerable people this can be the difference between life and death for some.

But apart from this one incident my experience with the Sligo mental health team has been fantastic and I can't thank them enough for their dedication.

Responses

Response from Patrick Finan, Senior Clinical Psychologist & DBT Therapist, Sligo Leitrim Adult DBT Service, Sligo Leitrim Mental Health Service We are preparing to make a change

Dear Happy Lady,

Thank you very much for your feedback. It is great to hear that you have made such progress over the last year and that you now find yourself in a much better place emotionally and with your mental health. The DBT Service, the Psychology Service and the Mental Health Service as a whole are always very happy to hear that clients such as yourself have a positive and beneficial experience of the Service, and with therapies like DBT.

We also are very appreciative that you took the time to highlight some less positive aspects. It is our ambition to use this review to change what needs to be addressed and to provide a better, more welcoming Service for all clients of Sligo / Leitrim Mental Health Service and DBT in particular. We agree that the environment where the DBT group intervention takes place is in need of significant attention. We will identify what needs to be fixed and address this as quickly as possible.

While this is in itself a very serious issue, your experience of not being treated with respect by a member of staff is more concerning. It is the expectation of the DBT team and Sligo / Leitrim Mental Health Service that all clients be treated with dignity, compassion and respect at all times. I apologise that this was not your experience on every occasion you attended any form of appointment. I can appreciate that this can be difficult, but it would be of benefit if you could come in, and discuss this experience in person, with either myself as a member of the DBT Team, or if it is more suitable with a representative of the Sligo / Leitrim Mental Health Service.

Thanking you again,

Patrick Finan

on behalf of the DBT Team

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