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Mental health: ethnic minority experiences

Onset of mental health problems

Here, people talk about when their mental health problems first began. Some people first began to experience mental health problems as teenagers, a few when they were children, while others experienced them much later in life, in their 40s. One woman was diagnosed with an eating disorder and said she began “using food” as a way of coping with family problems when she was a child. Some people were at university, college or school when their mental health problems began (see 'Losses & gains: impact of mental health on everyday lives'). And many people became unwell following a tough childhood.

 

When Tariq first began feeling unwell he didn't know what it was, but said it felt "normal" like...

When Tariq first began feeling unwell he didn't know what it was, but said it felt "normal" like...

Age at interview: 21
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 18
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One of the things you mentioned at the beginning was that when you started to feel unwell that you thought that what was happening to you was quite natural.

Yeah exactly because you just, honestly you just feel normal, you just feel like it's, it's when you feel, you know, when you feel , when you get the 'flu you, the 'flu is natural it's just, you know, it happens and you feel poorly but you just still feel the same, you still can do your stuff, you can still do, you know, gardening or cook or, or make yourself a cup of tea. You can still do your ordinary day to day things but it's just that you have a feeling where you have something coming over you like you've got the 'flu but you have to deal with it  or you have to try and keep it out or you have to try and, you know, try to recover on your own etcetera. That's how it was like, I feel it was just natural that I was experiencing and that other young people may have experienced it as well.  but I didn't want to tell anyone about it, I didn't want to tell my friends I just thought it might be a bit embarrassing, maybe I'm going through something or whatever  so yeah I just felt it was just a natural part of a, a human being and what they go through.  and because I feel that I'm sort of, because I'm all over the place and I'm very active and I go all over the place I feel that maybe because of it, I'm very, feeling very weak and that's really putting pressure on me etcetera but [pause] I don't think it was. Now I see it wasn't.

Did you have an idea of what it might be then?

No I didn't because I didn't, the thing is I didn't even think the slightest that it was to do with anything,  I didn't think it was to do with my heart problems, I didn't think it was to do with anything else. I just didn't think anything, I just thought, you know, I wanted to get on with the day and do my college and etcetera and I didn't think any of it, anything of it. 

And you said in the beginning you just tried to sort of cope.

Yeah exactly, I tried to get on with my day to day stuff at college and do what, what I had to do. I had, you know, I tried to sort of keep it completely up  but on some occasion it was quite difficult because I experiencing very, you know, feeling very anxious and very, you know, my hands were getting very sweaty and I was getting very frightened for no reason, I don't know why. But there were times when I could sit in the classroom, I had to walk out and go to the woman that was based at our college to go and tell her this is how I'm feeling etcetera. And this may have been during the class that I'd walked out,  and etcetera so yeah.

Circumstances leading up to the beginning of a mental health condition
Often people had experienced a whole series of difficulties in different areas of their lives before becoming unwell. These included problems at work and at home. People described conflicts with their family or partner, marriage breakdowns, and bereavement, as well as experiencing housing and financial problems. One woman described arguing with her husband about money. Many people had been separated from their parents (or surrogate parents) as children, including one woman who was placed in Local Authority care. Several had recently moved to the country from abroad, and often said they felt lonely and isolated. Some people had experienced abuse or rape or other kinds of physical harm. For some, this was at the hands of family members, while others were bullied at school or work. One woman felt that because she was being bullied at school and didn't have a good relationship with her parents, she was “already in a vulnerable state” when she started hearing voices. Some people also mentioned experiencing racism.

 

David's mental health problems began when he was five years old and he was experiencing racism...

David's mental health problems began when he was five years old and he was experiencing racism...

Age at interview: 37
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 37
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My experience of mental illness well, I think that really started when I was about five years old. I got my first experience of mental health professionals when I was eight. But my first cogent memory of anything is being locked inside my school, when I was five years old, in a classroom. Now as you can see I'm of mixed race or you may think I'm Mediterranean, Greek, Italian or Turkish or what ever. But in fact my father is Libyan and my mother is white English. Basically back in those days it was 1970's and things were pretty grim then for anyone that wasn't white. I remember somebody called me maybe a Paki or something like that.  And being in the area I was in, which is basically a pretty rough part of [city], I knew all the bad words that you shouldn't know at that age. Well I told, basically told someone to go forth and multiply and as it were and  I ended up being locked in the classroom during lunch break. Now that seems to have a very, that was a very seminal moment for me because that kind of defines my relationship with other people from there on in. And I know that sounds a bit weird but you've got to remember that at five years old it's still at very important age when you're developing. And being locked in a classroom I didn't know how long I was going to be locked in for and I was left all on my own unattended and I was very frightened. And I was left quite dumbstruck by the experience. 

After that, that was my first day also at junior school, so that wasn't a very good experience for me. And as I said that seems to have defined my experiences with other people from then on in.  What happened after that was I went then, I continued in school, and my first experience of mental health services was actually after I injured someone quite severely,  again it was racial abuse. And I just grabbed this guy that had basically been bullying me and I threw him against a wall. His head split open quite badly and he ended up having to have quite a few stitches.  I was really shocked at what I'd done. I'd slammed him into a wall and I just remember blood all over the place. I couldn't believe what I'd done. It was quite traumatic for me.  The school authorities thought I should see a child psychologist. I saw a child psychologist  the recommendation was that I had better breakfast. And a that time my name was Farid  it's an Arabic name, so I changed it by deed poll in the past to try and fit in a bit more as it were. I was recommended to have my name changed to Fred and to have, have a better breakfast in the morning because I didn't really eat much in those days because I couldn't really. I was so stressed out really. Why was I stressed out? Now that's a good question. At eight years old you'd think people were living in a stable family. Well unfortunately I wasn't, my father and my mother split up quite shortly after I was born.

 

Sarah began having difficulty sleeping when gangsters were threatening her and her husband in...

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Sarah began having difficulty sleeping when gangsters were threatening her and her husband in...

Age at interview: 48
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 46
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Honestly, I felt that I'm stressed because of council, as I rent a place from council for business that gave me headache. 

Can you tell me a bit more, like what happened?

That area got a lot of gangsters around, who bully us. They always come to our store and affect our work, so we are very worry about that. Once those gangsters want to take advantage of us and not paying, I told my husband to close the store on the day and took a stick to lock the door. Then they thought we want to use the stick to beat them, they immediately threw a glass to my husband and he bleed. We called the police immediately and the police came. I was afraid, there were ambulance and everything. Luckily he got hurt at arms, if was on the face then would be terrible. They thought we were to beat them, the police said they found them, but for me, that's still worrying. Thus we moved. Starting from then I can't sleep every night'

They  came to harass us everyday, threw eggs, harass us, it's such a headache. They came and asked, 'Can you give us something to eat?' Then I replied, 'No, we are running business, we can't give you food.' Then they threw eggs to our store. They would throw eggs into our store, or onto our wall, sometimes to the ceiling'

We have to pay rent everyday but can't run the business  later when they raise the rent I told them I couldn't afford, they then reduced the rent a bit. Later I told them that my business couldn't run, and could I pay in instalment, they allowed. I didn't know that when I pay by instalment, they charge me interest everyday. The interest accumulated' then at about the incident happened, about a year ago I want to sell it, and when my husband agreed, we went to tell council we would like to sell and asked about how much we have to pay back, waaooo, then the interest just keep adding'from year 2001 we don't have much income as we were harassed by them, then 2002, as we didn't earn much, then we asked could we pay by instalment, e.g. others have to pay, let say, by the beginning of the month they have to pay for the whole quarter, I said I couldn't afford to pay a lump sum as I couldn't pay as I didn't get any money at the beginning as no earning, but I didn't realize I have to write that all down, as we don't know much about legal problems. Then I pay monthly, and then they add by 2003 till 2006. That gave me heavy headache everyday, I didn't even have appetite. I don't feel well.

A few people had experienced physical health problems and a few women described beginning to feel unwell during pregnancy or following the birth of a child, while others became unwell after having a miscarriage or having trouble getting pregnant. (See 'Views about causes of mental health problems: individual factors'.) 

 

Shareen first became depressed after being told she couldn't have any more children. (Played by...

Shareen first became depressed after being told she couldn't have any more children. (Played by...

Age at interview: 39
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 24
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And then I had my first son. He was about 8 months, no, sorry, he was, he, when I had him, about he was 2 months old, that's when I started working. And my sister took over the looking after him. She had a daughter as well. Nine days between them. And she looked after them while I worked, me and my mum. We brought us wages and put food on the table and everything for them. And we used to take, take it in turns sleeping because there were only three rooms and there was six of us in one house. So we had to wake one person up and say, 'Get out of the bed. It's my turn to sleep now.' So it, it carried on to be rough and everything but we got through. And then we got us own association house, me and my husband. And we settled down.

And then after that they told me that I couldn't have no more children. It took about three years to have another child. And I got really down, I got really depressed. Anybody used to talk to me, I used to just snap at them. I used to get up at night and just open the door, just wander off. And my husband had to go looking for me. And I'd be walking the streets not knowing where I were. So he had to bring me back. And then I used to just get really annoyed with my husband. And my husband were getting fed up of me. He were just saying, you know, 'I try my best here.' I used to nag at him all the time. And he'll come home and say, 'Is the food cooked?' I'll say, 'No, it's not cooked,' you know. 'Why haven't you cooked owt?' 'I can't be bothered.' And I was just getting that way, I couldn't do nothing. So we started arguing. 

Then he turned to drink. He turned to drink and every night kept on coming home drunk. Then he started gambling, spending money what we didn't have to spend. So that got me really down. And then his family came on top. His sisters and that. And they started interfering with everything else. So I just told them where the door were. They didn't like it. So me and my husband started arguing again over them.

Some people talked about members of their family having mental health problems, including one man who experienced his first episode of psychosis shortly after meeting his mother who also had schizophrenia. 

 

Edward had his first experience of psychosis after the "shock" of migrating to Australia and...

Edward had his first experience of psychosis after the "shock" of migrating to Australia and...

Age at interview: 59
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 20
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And when I got out there I got to meet my mother didn't I, for the first time, and that was a terrible shock. She wasn't well and we just, there was some kind of toxic communication system where she frightened the living daylights out of me and I frightened the living daylights out of her. Once when she had one of her more lucid moments she said to me, you know, 'What happened to the baby on the boat, I don't even remember, what happened to the baby?' You know, this is on the journey coming out. 

I said, 'Look the baby is here, you're talking to the baby, the baby's okay.' You know, but it's just one of those tragic things where she couldn't even remember what was going on. She was conscious of the fact she had a child, that the child had been taken away or whatever, you know, and she'd lost it, so couldn't look after herself or the child. And I, I don't know but the, the, the shock of migration there, because when you're there the first year I didn't understand what people meant when they said what they said, it was a, just because they drive on the left and speak English doesn't mean a thing, you know, it's a huge culture over there to get used to and often people failed to get used to it have to come back here don't they? But of course I had to stay for two years because otherwise I'd have to pay the fare back and I couldn't afford that. 

 and anyway I had connections there so after a year it was okay but in the first few months after I met my mother that's when I had the first psychosis, after about five months I was not well, just after Christmas, between Christmas and New Year in 1968 I was in, I volunteered, I signed myself in because I know that I wasn't, I was having hallucinations and a terrible anxiety 24/7. I felt anxious the whole time and I didn't know what it was about and I knew that wasn't right. And I'd seen my mother, how sick she was and seen the effect it had on her where you couldn't sort of determine the difference between personality and illness you know so the boundary line was very vague and it was quite scary because I was closely related to her you see and that made me doubt my own capacity to stay well. And as soon as that self doubt seeped into my conscious state of where I was going and where I was headed, where I was headed, I became anxious on the basis of my mother's, you know, outcome.

Others mentioned drinking alcohol and using drugs just before they became unwell.

Noticing something was wrong
For some, their experience began merely as a feeling that something was “not quite right” whilst others began hearing voices or experiencing hallucinations & delusions. For a few people, onset was very sudden [see Dolly below]. People responded to what was happening in different ways. Some didn't realise anything was wrong or thought that what they were experiencing was “natural” or “normal” (see 'Ways of describing mental health problems'). [See Tariq above] Others said they were aware that something was definitely wrong. Some weren't sure what was happening and felt confused, believing it might eventually go away, or thought it was something else, like a physical health problem.

 

Nelsy didn't realise she was experiencing mental health problems and was shocked when she was...

Nelsy didn't realise she was experiencing mental health problems and was shocked when she was...

Age at interview: 56
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 48
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I was relying so much on medical help that I didn't mind going to the doctors and having whatever they gave me. But never in my life I thought I was going to be mentally ill, or psychologically ill. 

Did you recognise what you were going through at the time as a mental health issue, when No?

No. Not until they took me to the psychiatric hospital then the, the shock came, and my awareness began. I began to change everything around me and looking for my own answers.

And what did you think when they gave you, well initially they gave you Valium and then they changed that, they gave you Prozac.

Prozac and something else.

So what did, what did you make of that, what did you think they were giving you that for, did you think at that point that you had a mental health problem or'? 

[Sighs] The doctor gave me Valium and the day of the, when they took me to the emergency team was when I realised it was psychiatric unit. And then seeing the psychiatrist later on, changing my medication, by then I was aware of, that it was not a physical illness. So did you, when you first got the Valium from your GP did you, did you think it was a physical'?

No, no I didn't think that. I thought that maybe I think this, I was so na've, thinking that the nerves is something like a tummy, so a tablet for the aching of the nerves [laughs], something like that, well it wasn't like that but. It's a very na've way of seeing things, I suppose. Mmm'

Some said they didn't tell anyone what was happening because they were embarrassed, scared, or in the case of one woman, felt they were seen by others as coping and “strong”. [See Tariq above] Some said they tried to carry on, and one man said he tried “to act normal” to keep it secret, “but I wasn't fooling anyone”.

 

People didn't notice Imani was depressed because she gave them the impression that she was strong...

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People didn't notice Imani was depressed because she gave them the impression that she was strong...

Age at interview: 48
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 47
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On the face of things I was still functioning. I was still coping. I was still able to smile in the right places. I was still able to, you know, appear in public and my face was well moisturized and, you know, so to all intents and purposes, I was fine. I was coping. I was managing and, 'Wow that's what she does, she's so strong.' 

And did there come a point then when they were cracks in that? And people could see what was really happening?

' I think what happened was, I, I had given them this thing that I can cope and then I felt responsible to maintain that, because if I then took that away from them and I asked them for something else, and then they weren't able to offer it, what would that do to me? Maybe what would that do to them? Because regardless of what I was experiencing in my marriage, there were still people who were coming to me with problems, and because I was' able doesn't seem to be the right word, but because when they came to me, they were leaving with something, they, I believe that they thought, 'Wow and she was going through all of that. Gosh I never would have guessed. You know, I went to her and I had problems, and she was talking to me, and she was'' and all of that. 

And I think' it got to the point where I then felt I had already given them that person, and so I couldn't take that away from them. And so even though I was dying inside, I wouldn't have said so. And part of that I think is also about ego, and, you know, the reputation of being a strong woman, you know, somewhere in my psyche maybe that made me feel good, to feel that, you know, that's how I was perceived. 

 And I didn't then want to appear as if I can't cope, 'Oh my gosh, gosh, no, no, I'm all right, I'm fine really. Yes, you know, I'm fine, yes, yes, yes, yes. Thank God, you know, I'm well.' But inside, it was something completely different and there would be very few people who would know that crumbling inside, and to begin with it was my sister, but then I realised what it was doing to here and so I then found a friend who I could talk to and, but then I could see what it was doing to her. And so it gets to the point you just stop sharing because you're in this situation, why don't you get out of it? Why don't you get out? Why don't you go? Why don't you leave, and you're asking yourself that question. Why don't you leave? And there's no answer. There's no answer except, yes, but you married him, you married him. 

You could have said no, but you chose to marry him, and marriage is for life. And so you just... you just keep it inside and hope that somebody somewhere will be able to look at you, look into your eyes and see the sadness, and just be able to reach into your situation and just pluck you out of it.

Many people described how parents, siblings and friends also started to notice that there may be something wrong, based on changes in behaviour or facial expressions or not seeing them for a while. For those who thought that there was nothing wrong, people's responses were puzzling. One woman thought her mother “was making a fuss over nothing”, while one man began to think there must be something wrong because he trusted his mum [See Devon below].

 

Judy became sick when she couldn't cope any more following the murder of her brother and her...

Judy became sick when she couldn't cope any more following the murder of her brother and her...

Age at interview: 52
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 22
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I got sick I don't know. My brother was killed, mummy was in [the general] Hospital, and I heard that she was going to stop walk, talk, all the functions and I was sleeping things that was happening to her. They chopped off my brother's two arms, opened his head and his back, he died cruelly I just couldn't cope no more and I never had a boyfriend, I was going to church, couldn't cope no more, couldn't cope no more.

So you became unwell?

Yes

And then who was it that took' 

It was getting worse, because [my husband] was in the church and they were pray for me, it was getting worse, I was losing my memory. [Name] was my social worker at that time and I was living with a family in New Town, yeah because I went up to my brother, [yawns] my brother just stay, spend some time with him because when I broke this ankle, yeah, so I had to come to be alright, to go to clinic. And a woman, she's dead now, my Church sister, she offered me, said I could come and stay with them. So I eventually lived over there for six months, not that's wrong, three months and the daughter, then comes a mental breakdown. In Jamaica we say nervous breakdown, they were scared and I had stopped sleeping so I used to go downstairs and talk to myself and they talk, I talk loud and quarrelling and wake up mother and then she went to her daughter and they say I can't stay there no more, she just sick she'll have to go in the hospital. So that daughter called then at the time it was [doctor] and, [the] Hospital but my care coordinator along with my, that CPN they came from the Crisis Team upstairs and they came to the house and they took me because they see that hospitalisation was what I wanted.

And did you want to go to hospital?

I'd never dream of going to [the mental health hospital] no I'd never dream of going to [the mental health hospital], I didn't want to go in a hospital because I used to go, every day [general hospital] I walk and go there every day. And then when they killed my brother it was a great shock to me.

Others said that no-one noticed that anything was wrong, because they were seen as “strong” [see Imani above].

What people did when they realised something was wrong
Once people realised something was wrong, most eventually went to see their doctor. People also made contact with social services or the hospital, or were referred to specialists, such as a child psychiatrist. Others were taken to see a health professional against their will by a concerned family member or by the police. One woman's sister went to the GP who sent the early intervention team. One woman was so distressed by the voices she was hearing, she attempted suicide [see Dolly below].

 

When his symptoms got worse, Tariq told people he trusted and they went with him to the hospital;...

When his symptoms got worse, Tariq told people he trusted and they went with him to the hospital;...

Age at interview: 21
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 18
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As time went I don't know what happened but I started feeling much worse , far more suicidal and it came to the extent where I just felt that I wanted to smash everything up around me and just break everything and whenever people spoke I started to get annoyed, I didn't want anyone to speak around me, I wanted to sort of peace and silence around me and it was sort of like that. And then within the last few weeks before my exam it was, it was at such an extent that the condition, my condition worsened to, worsened so much that. I was, I found a difficulty even walking to the college because I was feeling so anxious, so down, so upset but I didn't give it off as something that was obvious, I didn't make people around me feel suspicious, why is he feeling, you know, why does he look like that, I tried to keep my sort of try to act as normally as I could but deep down I was sort of ripped up completely and I couldn't think straight etcetera. but then after a period of time as the condition worsened it was decided we had, I had a meeting with the, the, the advisor and also we had a mental health nurse at our, our, at our college, we decided that the best way was we made a number of phone calls in the office and it was decided that I'd go to a local hospital because I was feeling really bad at that time. So all three of us, both of them came along with me because I wanted them to be there, we all went down. rather than going to the local one in that particular area where I had studied college they went down to my, the local one in my area so we drove down to that area. I wasn't, I wasn't sectioned or anything, I wasn't taken into hospital but what was decided I was given medication, I was subscribed medication there and then and then they, I went home and it was decided that, by the people at the hospital decided that the crisis teams that are now everywhere that they come and see me in my home every single day from that day on.

 

Dolly started to hear voices aged 14 and thought it would go away; she was referred to a child...

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Dolly started to hear voices aged 14 and thought it would go away; she was referred to a child...

Age at interview: 36
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 21
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Okay. I guess my mental health difficulties started when I was 14. Before they, they kind of arrived on the scene, I was at the top of my class I ran for my school. I was quite, you know, the person voted most likely to succeed, but that kind of changed over night. And it was literally overnight.

 I was 14 years old and I was listening to the radio on the Sunday. There's a chart show that comes on every Sunday and... I was just listening to the music, you know, ready to record the songs I liked and then suddenly I heard a different voice come out the radio. It wasn't the radio it was kind of a deep demonic voice and it was just saying, 'Dolly, Dolly, I know you Dolly. I, what do you want Dolly?' And oh it just totally freaked me out. I switched off my radio, but the voice was still there. So I didn't know what to do. I thought it would go away, but like a few days later it came back. And so... I didn't know who to go to, because it didn't have a good relationship with my Mum or my Dad. And I was also being bullied at school, so I was already in a vulnerable state.

So... when I went to school a couple of weeks after I first heard the voices, the voices started to speak to me while I was at school. And I became quite unmanageable at school, in that I started to truant school because of what was happening. Not only that, but I was starting also to become paranoid. I was beginning to think people could read my thoughts. And there were kind of messages on TV that were just directly speaking to me, and they were saying stuff like people wanted to kill you. So not knowing what to do and being just so totally frightened I attempted suicide, like three weeks after I had my kind of first psychotic thing on that Sunday, whilst I was listening to the radio. 

... It just made me sick. The overdose just made me sick, but after that, that incident I refused to go back to school. Social Services became involved, and they sent, they referred me to see a child psychiatrist. I am not sure what diagnosis was then, and what she thought was wrong with me, but she did say I shouldn't go back to school. So I didn't. I stopped going to school. But unfortunately nothing was done to help me really, I just thought maybe, you know, trying to put me into a special school would help. But when they tested me academically they found out I was far too advanced to go to special school. So like literally my kind of school career ended when I was 14.

I mean it was just totally frightening alien experience. So, you know. I think maybe if it had come to me in a different way. Maybe if it was just some neutral voices talking about what was happening, but these just sounded so demonic. I couldn't relate to it in any kind of human way, or, you know, it just did seem such a frightening and totally alien experience, you know, that was happening to me. It wasn't just reoccurring, you know, naturally. I mean it took a while for me to understand that these voices weren't real. I mean it was, it was part psychosis. It took me about a year or two after that first experience to realise that it could be a mental illness, you know. It took a while. It took a while. Yes.

 

Devon's mother called the doctor and then the police because she noticed that there was something...

Devon's mother called the doctor and then the police because she noticed that there was something...

Age at interview: 49
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 22
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My Mother didn't know where I was in the borough. So someone said to her they saw me walking around the street looking a bit like I needed some attention like. I needed someone to look after me. Because I stopped eating. I was just drinking alcohol, smoking drugs, and partying every night and not taking care of myself, because I was grieving. 

So I went round my Mum's place. She had just came back from Jamaica on holiday and she brought back some stuff for me. And she cooked dinner. And she said to me, 'I have not seen you for a long time Devon. Are you all right? I have called a doctor. I am concerned about you.'

So not long after that the doctor came and examined me at my Mother's place and then he said, 'I will speak to you another time.' Then not long after that another doctor came back, this was from a hospital doctor. So he came and examined me and said they would take me to the hospital. I am saying, 'I am fine. There is nothing wrong with me.' But my Mum is saying, 'You go with them Devon. You are not well.' So I am saying, 'I am fine.'

Anyway so not long after that the police came at the door. So I am thinking what is the police here for? Have I done something wrong? And then my auntie was there, my Mum said, 'Go along with them Devon. Don't worry. Take the treatment they give you so that you will be well again.'

But this is all like I couldn't understand what it was all about. Because I did nothing wrong against the law. I felt fine. Just a bit stressed, you know hungry, but I came home for dinner. 

Anyway they took to me to the local hospital, mental hospital, and admitted me. And they were in the office talking to the doctor and the nurse about me. The police was there, and my Mum was there and my Mum's sister. And the police asked me, 'Have you been smoking dope, Devon?' I was a religious person. My hair, long locks. So the first question was, 'Have you been smoking dope.' I said, 'I do smoke, because I am religious. I don't smoke for fun. I am a religious person.' And then they talked among themselves.

Not long after that my Mum left, and my aunt left, and the police. And the woman, the nurse, said that is my bed over there. So they took me to another room, examined me, the duty doctor, and they took my clothes and gave me some other clothes. And I started to sit on the bed, and I thought, 'There must be something wrong then, because I trust my Mum.' Something, might be wrong, something that I don't know of that I am suffering from.

One man says, on reflection, he was glad he was forced to see the doctor, as he was putting himself in danger.

 

Hanif's father forced him to see a psychiatrist and he thinks it was probably for the best...

Hanif's father forced him to see a psychiatrist and he thinks it was probably for the best...

Age at interview: 49
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 23
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In my case I suppose, you know, there was no, I suppose maybe I was lucky or fortunate and that, you know, I was taken, you know, you know, in terms of I was, I supposed forced really to, you know, to, to, to go and see a psychiatrist. I mean I really wouldn't have gone on my own, on my own accord really. You know, so of course there was a process of coercion and, you know, force but I think in hindsight it was probably good for me. Because it, you know, it would have, had that not happen I would probably have deteriorated to an ill, to a stage where, you know, I was at risk myself because, you know, some of my actions were quite dangerous. You know, I was doing some perhaps a little bit crazy stuff. You know, like just going in the middle of the road and, you know, just putting my hands up and saying, you know, I can, I'm going to stop the cars. It's like the, you know, programme Heroes at the moment where you can use your powers [laughs], you know, to stop bullets flying at you or whatever. So that kind of, you know, actions, so of course I was at risk of not only, you know, I was putting my life at risk and others, you know, for that. 

So in terms of had I not, you know, been forced into going to see a psychiatrist and medication I don't know whether I would have, on my own I wouldn't have. You know, so in hindsight it was a good thing that, you know, I was, I was taken, you know, by force into hospital, you know, for my own good. And now I probably understand why sometimes people who have, who go through a psychosis, you know, at that stage they may not, they may disagree to say well, you know, be forcibly taken into a hospital or sectioned. But sometimes, you know, we are human being, you know, sometimes but it's the manner that that happens. Yes, you know, it could be construed as, you know, very, very oppressive or very, but I think it's, you know, it's how it's contextualised, you know. So, of course people say well, you know, I was sectioned, you know, I was forcibly taken, yeah but sometimes that's one of, that's the only way sometimes. And I'm not advocating that, you know, that's the right way but for some maybe it is. For me that was and, you know, I have no, I have no qualms about it, I have not complaints. You know, because otherwise I don't think I would have accessed services at all.

Views about what people think caused their mental health problems are covered in 'Views about causes of mental health problems: individual factors' and 'Views about causes of mental health problems: social & environmental factors').

Last reviewed September 2018.

Last updated June 2015.

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