Viewing Mental Health Records - Action on Postpar...

Action on Postpartum Psychosis

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Viewing Mental Health Records

DEb12W profile image

What are people's experiences of viewing their mental health records? Was it helpful, harmful, distressing, cathartic....

12 Replies
Lilybeth profile image

Hello Deb12W

Thanks for posting this question. I think like me, you had PP twice, although I'm sure my episodes were years earlier.

After I applied for my medical records regarding my PP, my GP counselled me about the traumatic contents. I really wanted to find out how I came to be in the Victorian asylum in the mid 70's as I only remember waking up in a cold, grey ward with men and women screaming and crying for help ..... and where was my baby? I knew I had been sectioned via A & E. Similarly, in the mid-80's I found myself in hospital.

I took my medical records home and put them away for a few days. My sons offered to be with me when I read them but I wanted to read them on my own, in case I found something which would be too distressing to share!

I did read them and whilst feeling very sad for the young woman struggling to make sense of what was happening, I felt very guilty for how I had behaved although I know it wasn't my fault. I read that I only harmed myself so that was a relief! Other details are too traumatic to recall.

I would take your time to look back on your illness. I still carry guilt about things I have read and all the distress I caused my family .... even now I don't know where to park it. I think it has been helpful to fill in the missing pieces but distressing to come to terms with.

Take care.


I had pp in November 2013, I had got my records a year later. my main reason for getting my records was because of my sons birth, there was a lot of unanswered questions because I had a retained placenta and had to be rushed to theatre. I felt like I wanted to know how long it was they tried for and odd questions like what was I dressed in. My husband couldn't remember the details and after time got fed up of me asking.

There was a lot I didn't understand but I did read through them, it was hard to see it down on paper what had happened. I also went back to the hospital the matron helped me to understand my notes,

Just take your time and done rush yourself to read them xxx

Dear Deb12W

i seem to remember I asked a similar question a couple of years ago about my mental health records from my two stays in the Psychiactric Hospital because I was so traumatised by the experience and things I do remember - you may be able to find it and see the replies. I still have the thick brown envelope with them unopened at home! Somehow knowing that I CAN see them if I choose gives me comfort rather than knowing that there are things written about me in a hospital filing cabinet.

Whatever you decide to do please take care, and perhaps seek professional advice from your care team as they may have more experience if this.

Here's the thread bluestarlady mentions :) You might find it helpful to read!

Shery profile image
Shery in reply to Ellie_at_APP

Ellie.dear.please guide me...i very sad. My wife recently delivery one child god gift me...but my wife very confuse thinging halucination delucifusion..plz help me

Ellie_at_APP profile image
Ellie_at_APPPartner in reply to Shery

Dear Shery

I'm so sorry to hear about your wife. You must be feeling really scared and worried. First of all she will get better and recover, but she does need to get the right treatment. I had PP myself in 2011 and I am fully recovered.

I hope you don't mind me asking a few questions. Are you in the UK? If not, where are you? Is she in hospital, or at home, and is she getting professional support? It's really important that she gets professional support from a psychiatrist and is prescribed anti psychotic medication.

I wanted to give you a link to our guides - a recovery guide which gives you a lot of information about PP, treatment etc. But also a guide for partners which you may find useful. The link to the guides is here:

And here is our page for help for partners of women who have PP:

You will get a lot of support on here. Write whenever you need to. We are all here for you and your family, and will try and advise and support you as much as we can.


Shery profile image
Shery in reply to Ellie_at_APP

The hounrable recpectable ellie. My name is shery from pakistan.i m govermnt employe. Ellie. My wife last 2month confuse thinking and hallucination and delusion after child birth .she is medication use psychosis tablt routing useing.bye the way..last two month i m very sad.but i check google search ur link see him last two days ur comments ..i realy happy i pray for specialy for wife simple story.but i m fully supported my wife my life..hounrable ellie.please help country not right treatment.i m sad.from.shery

Ellie_at_APP profile image
Ellie_at_APPPartner in reply to Shery

Dear Shery

I'm really sorry to hear about your wife. It sounds like you are being amazing and supporting her really well. Is she in hospital or at home?

I'm sorry that the treatment in Pakistan probably isn't as good as here. Do you have support from family etc to help you?

Perhaps you could print off our information, which I gave you links to above, to the professionals caring for her so that they have the most up to date information?

Keep writing whenever you need to. I hope the links I gave you were helpful.

It's important your wife keeps taking the anti psychotic, and is monitored by a psychiatrist, who can change the medication if needed. I hope your wife has this support?

I will be thinking of you. Your wife will get better with the right support.

Take care.

Shery profile image
Shery in reply to Ellie_at_APP

Hounrable ellie please wife story.postanatal case

Jas15 profile image

Hi - I suffered with PP twice and after the first episode I asked to see my notes....I went back to the MBU and staff were curious as to my reasons for wanting to see my notes - for me it was a case of curiosity and trying to make sense of everything as I'd had ECT my memory was very was an extremely disturbing experience and actually set me back in my recovery as I read things that my family deny were true - there was a suggestion that my details had been mixed up with another patients! Basically it did more harm than good and looking back I wish I hadn't done it..... I realise now that some things are best laid to rest and to move on and look to the future is a much healthier approach, for your own mental wellbeing. I do hope this helps you in making a decision - all the best xx

I only had a few things from the records reviewed with me. I don't believe they got extremely specific with behaviors. I have a very good memory of those. I only had these read to me by my psychiatrist and it was because I specifically asked what antipsychotic meds they tried on me. I believe it was 6-7. With in a 10 day period. I only remember 1 being administered and I don't remember even seeing a doctor for the first few days in the hospital . I only remember my time in the ER before I went to the psychiatric hospital. Obviously I have selective memory. But the med thing was hard for me to move past. I'm sort of a health nut and knowing that they were treating me like a Guinea pig is a hard pill to swallow. (Pun intended). Even though it's unpleasant knowing that happened's part of my experience and learning to accept what I can and cannot control has made me grow as a person.

I did- I also found out that a relative had being giving information about me that was unfavourable.

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