There was an incident about a year ago, short after New Year’s Eve. It’s strange to talk about it, I feel guilty actually. A friend was over who had mental health issues, he had lost his job and didn’t pay his bills anymore and startend driving fast. I haven’t noticed his issues earlier, because I’ve been in a lot of stress myself, having an important surgery shortly after that and writing exams. But on New Year’s Eve I noticed that he didn’t seem to care about his life anymore while it was falling apart. But still we had a nice New Year’s Eve. But the after several days I wanted to be alone. I noticed before that he wanted to spend more time with me that I couldn’t offer even though I liked him as a person. It’s difficult to explain. But the situation started to get worse. It was in the evening and he started crying that when even his friends leave him, that he wouldn’t have anything anymore. I told him that he can come over tomorrow, but that I wanted to have time for myself. I suffer from overload and after all that days with him being over it was just too much for me. But he got worse and started to blackmail me that he would just leave when I would call the police and started to get highly emotional. I got frightened to be in my room and left and called a friend for advice. She also talked to him and said that he doesn’t seem well and that he’s blackmailing me, telling when I don’t take care for him, his life would be over. She told me the best thing I could do is calling the psychiatrist. I did and I also told the psychiatrist on the phone my name when I was told to. When she looked it up she found out that I’m a mental health case myself. I’ve difficulties expressing emotions actually and I just told her in a dry way the facts. But the psychiatrist didn’t took me serious and told me I wouldn’t get any help in this night from the psychiatry, because she must have thought it’s nothing. Well he started walking around outside the building of the escape ladder and didn’t seem to be himself anymore and I got totally frightened. I called the police in the hope they would bring him to the psychiatry or safe at home at least. I felt sorry, but I didn’t know what to do, but they didn’t and he damaged my door and I started hiding way back in my room behind a locked door. Late at night after damaging my door he drove off. He called me about 3 am, but I didn’t picked up, because I was still kind of in a shock and was talking to my friend on the phone who had helped me in this night over the phone. He never arrived home, but had a car accident on the way home. He died about 5 to 10 minutes after he had tried calling me. I found out two days later when the criminal investigating bureau called me because I was a witness and had to tell them how the police had behaved and so on. The C.I.D. told me that it has been a car accident and I also had a talk in the psychiatry having to tell them what happened and so on. They were very nice to me actually, but it didn’t helped, he was already dead. This left me in a situation with anxiety attacks for mental health professionals and a deep mistrust. It is getting better actually, but I still have trust issues with mental health professionals and usually don’t tell them what’s going on with me or just partly. I also feel guilty that I had caused the death of him. I dunno what to think about this situation and how I can get my trust back? I know I’ve mental health issues and when I don’t tell them what’s going on with me, I also don’t get any help.
Thank you for trusting us enough here at Psych Central to send us a letter. I appreciate your willingness to reach out to us and hope I can offer something that is helpful.
I think you did everything right. This was a very tough situation, and you did all the right things. You called the mental health professionals and the police. Perhaps because you knew your friend so much better you realized the severity of the situation and they didn’t. This is not a failure on your part. You’re not responsible for your friend’s condition or accident. It is sad and unfortunate that neither the police nor the psychiatrist did the right thing, but you did everything your could do.
This is a time to grieve the loss of your friend and to acknowledge that gaps that still exist in the delivery of mental health services, and police response.
When you feel ready, you may want to find a support group for grieving. What’s good about a group is that it’s a larger network of support than the professionals alone.
Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.
APA Reference Tomasulo, D. (2018). I Can’t Trust Mental Health Professionals. Psych Central.
Retrieved on November 19, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/04/28/i-cant-trust-mental-health-professionals/
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 28 Apr 2014) Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.