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Date published

28 November 2018

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How it all started

Earlier this year I had a severe mental health crisis and while in hospital due to self harm for which I needed a blood transfusion and surgery I was given the name of a local mental health charity by the mental health team in the hospital. I didn't contact them for a while as I just wasn't in the right place but once I built up the courage I felt I had made a huge step forward. I emailed them and made an appointment. They rang me back to talk to me the same day and I was so pleased because I had got nowhere with help from the NHS mental health services. Anyway, while I was talking to them they mentioned their building and it turned out that it was up TWO FLIGHTS OF STAIRS!!! I'm a wheelchair user!!! I just couldn't believe it. When I told my GP he was shocked because as they are a very new charity he thought they had to be accessible. So anyway 2 days later they rang me back and told me not to worry because they were sorting out an accessible room for me and would be in touch within the week.

What I did to try to overcome it

5 weeks later when I had heard nothing I wrote to them to tell them I had been discriminated against because the ONLY reason I hadn't seeing anyone from their charity was that I was in a wheelchair. A month later I got an apology and they held their hands up and said they had got it completely wrong. They now definitely 100% have access to an accessible room in a different building.

How it made me feel

I feel quite proud that it was because of me complaining. Unfortunately, the help that came through for me was too little, too late. I needed them when I was in severe crisis. I am still far from right with my mental health but I'm not in crisis and just plodding on alone. I hope my story does empower others to complain and complain loudly because it does make a difference. Thank you for giving me this opportunity.

The outcome

They now have an accessible room in a different building. The only thing is, they have drop in appointments that disabled people can't access because the accessible room they use has to be booked in advance. So I guess it's not 100% right, but better than it was.

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