During our work with Bucks Mind on the Dignity and Harm report, we met Sarah. She wanted to share her experiences of getting treatment for self-harm in Bucks.
What was good about the services you used?
I went to the Minor Injuries Unit in Wycombe several times, they never said anything negative and were understanding. I whispered it [about the self-harm] to the person on reception and she said, ‘that’s fine’. I was seen by a nurse, she was really nice and non-judgemental. Which means I would more likely to use the service in Wycombe again. I didn’t feel scared to be there.
Was there anything in particular that stood out about your experience?
It’s more the fact that they made me feel like I should be there, and they made me feel comfortable. [Wycombe Minor Injuries Unit]
When I was a teenager I used to self-harm, but I never sought help from anyone because I was too scared, and I didn’t tell anyone. Now I feel, I would access health care because of the staff in Wycombe. They weren’t judgemental.
Were there any negative aspects?
Oh, you know when I was spoken to in the waiting room in Stoke Mandeville about it [self-harming]. I felt embarrassed, but my overwhelming feeling whas that I was horrified! I felt so bad I just had to get out of there without a discharge and I took a taxi home immediately.
Wycombe was a good experience, but I am worried about Stoke Mandeville because I wanted more privacy. I must say the doctor who gave me stitches was good and understanding. It’s just I didn’t want to talk about my private notes in the waiting room.
What do you think could have made your experience better?
They should have spoken to me in a separate room. It makes me cautious not to go back to Stoke Mandeville. I think because my injuries were so serious I needed to be there as I went in by ambulance, but I wouldn’t want to go back if I could help it.
Sarah was one of the 8 people Bucks Mind spoke to for our Dignity and Harm report. You can see the full report here, and see a joint response from the healthcare providers here.