Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Childrens Mental Health treatment: Free, but 55,000 miles to the point of delivery.

You might find the following account hard to believe in the UK in 2016, but it's the real ordeal of a local family, whose teenage daughter developed mental health problems after bullying. They live in Yeovil, but just look at the places where their child ended up for 'care'....
"We've had to section her on seven occasions, the first being in September 2013 - that was at Sevenoaks in Kent, she was there for about eight weeks."
Since her first admission, she has spent periods in mental health hospitals in Southampton, Manchester, Woking, Norwich and finally Orpington in Kent.
She has had to be treated hundreds of miles away from her home because there are no inpatient beds available in Somerset.
Her parents have visited her virtually every weekend as she was battling her illness, spending £25,000 and racking up 55,000 miles of travel just to see her.
"She would get put in different hospitals - from Southampton she was moved to Manchester for a weekend, and then spent four months in Woking. Many of these mental health hospitals are privately owned, they're profit-making organisations. Often it appears they never have enough staff."
Her mother said that it was "heartbreaking" to be separated from their daughter by such huge distances. She said: "I feel as though I've missed out on two and a half years of our daughter growing up. You get a phone-call at night and she's crying her eyes out and you're like 250 miles away and you know there's nothing you can do to help her."
"We've spent £25,000 over the last three years just to see our daughter - that's food, accommodation, petrol, taking her out to places, everything. A lot of other people can't afford to do that. We were told that either the NHS or the county council would reimburse transport costs, but we've heard nothing from either. There's no continuity of care. We've never been back to the same hospital; it's always a different psychiatrist or a different doctor, and it's soul-destroying."
This is scandalous. It's enough of an ordeal to have an ill child, but how on earth is all of that supposed to help the child recover? 
This is not a one-off, it's happening repeatedly to adults as well as children, and school heads are now flagging up mental illness as a major concern. 

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