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Posted on Dec 16 2020 by Jo Lehmann

'I survived days I didn't think I would' - a former patient shares her story

This article was published on the Chronicle and Echo website on 15 December 2020.​

By Carly Odell (Chronicle and Echo reporter)

A young woman who has recently been discharged from a Northampton mental health hospital has spoken out about her recovery and how police saved her life. Megan Allard was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder in 2017 after being ‘in and out’ of various hospitals for four years, since she was 16. 

The now 20-year-old was most recently discharged from her second rehabilitation location - St Andrew’s Hospital - on Thursday (December 10) after almost a year-long stay. 

Megan was first admitted to the Billing Road hospital after an almost fatal night in London last year. 

She said:

"On December 10, 2019 I took myself to London to try and end my life. The Metropolitan Police found me on a bridge and I was placed under a 136 section by them. On December 28 I was transferred to St Andrew's and started my biggest recovery journey I have ever embarked on so far. I was terrified to go and I was worried."

Prior to her encounter with the London-based police force, Megan was also known to local force, who she says helped her on several occasions. 

Megan added:

“I have had a lot of input from Northamptonshire Police. If I absconded while on leave and they would find me and to keep me safe. For a while, seeing the police was a regular occurrence as I was unable to keep myself safe."

Once Megan had been transferred to St Andrew's she stayed on the Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) ward, which focuses on a treatment to help patients understand and accept the emotions they feel. 

"Almost as soon as I got there my care was focussed around therapy," Megan continued. 

"The main contributing factor for me was engaging with the therapy. I wanted to work towards leaving and getting out and going home. I went in and did everything that was asked of me immediately and tried to work on things I was struggling with, as soon as I felt ready to and as soon as I wanted to. 

"The therapists at the hospital are some of the smartest and nicest people I have ever met. It was really refreshing to sit down with someone who understood what I was saying. I have never spoken to someone the way I spoke to my first therapist. I had never shared as much as I did with her. My second therapist then worked with my on relapse prevention."

Following almost a year of hard work in recovery, Megan was discharged from the hospital and now lives in supported accommodation so someone is there for her at any time, if needed. 

Since September Megan has also been attending Northampton College to work towards gaining GCSE qualifications. Megan is then hoping to start a nursing access course with the aim to become a mental health nurse within a police force, so she can help others struggling with what she has been through.

Megan is also keen to thank the force who she says saved her life on more than one occasion. 

"One thing that has stuck with me is the quote 'you have survived 100 percent of your worst days' and that has really helped me," she continued. 

“I have always said if it was not for Northamptonshire Police I would not be alive and I would not being living the life I’m living today. As low as I have felt, I did survive it and I survived those days I did not think I was going to. I would say to anyone else feeling similar to reach out, be as honest as you can and accept help. People do care even if you think don't."

A spokeswoman for St Andrew’s added:

“We’re so very proud of how far Megan has come in her recovery, this is really down to her hard work and dedication. We wish her every luck in the future.”