It was just over five years ago that I met my support worker. I was 15 and fucked-up, she was a new Mum and settling into part-time work. Because of policies and regulations made by the NHS, I will no longer be able to see her once I’ve turned 21 and have returned to university. I feel as if I am grieving, yet no-one has died!
She has watched me grow into a woman. She has reliably been there when I have reached crisis point. She may have been paid as part of her job to do this, but she has so often commented on a friendship that was more than strictly professional. Her care has always appeared genuine and we have had a relationship based on mutual openness. I don’t feel vulnerable as I frequently do in the presence of psychiatrists and mental health professionals who have read over my medical records with scrutiny. My support worker knows that I am more than a doctor’s or nurses’ notes and opinions. Most importantly, she makes me feel safe.
I wish everyone could have someone like I have had. I hope that she will not vanish after she stops being involved in my care. I urge people to realise the impact that one trusted adult can bring to an otherwise chaotic existence. I implore the British Government to halt the stretching of health care resources and funding and to instead replenish them.
On so many occasions, it has been the time and compassion of a support worker that has saved my life rather than the expertise of a consultant psychiatrist.