"Disappointed with support from the mental health services for my son"

About: Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust / Child and adolescent mental health

(as a parent/guardian),

I am the Mum/Carer of my teenage son, who has had serious mental health issues for the last three years. I am disappointed with the 'service' he has received. It took three months to initially assess him, and I feel that his care has been appalling and sporadic at best.

My son is a suicide attempter and a serious self harmer, and the care he has received from very pleasant but extremely overworked and under valued staff, especially at crisis point, I think is negligent and dangerous.

The crisis service in particular is at its worst at the times when it should be at its best, weekends, nights, and evenings. There are bad points absolutely too numerous to mention, and the care for carers is no better at all, in my experience although I save the service a considerable amount of time and money and resources by being my son's carer (I do not mind of course, I love him - he is my son).

I also am undervalued, left in ignorance, and most of the time not spoken to at all, to the point I have ended up in the service myself, which could have been avoided. I am utterly dissatisfied with the Norfolk and Suffolk Mental Health Trust.

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Responses

Response from Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundaton Trust has developed a more youth focussed response and continues to work hard to ensure young people can easily access the service and find the interventions helpful - parents and carers play a key role in this and some groups exist to support parents.

We recognise the challenges in caring for a young person with a mental health problem and has included some self-help materials on the website whatsthedealwith.co.uk

Other organisations, such as Young Minds, also have very helpful advice on their sites. We also welcome comments made direct to the service about how to improve our services: we have an active service user group who will hold us to account for everything we plan and do, we encourage young people to be part of this.

We have promised young people and their carers that we will continue to develop our services and that our teams in partnership with other agencies will help promote young people's recovery.

Update posted by donegallass (a parent/guardian)

Same old, same old, I'm afraid. Doesn't help one bit if you are in the situation we are in.

NO RESPITE FOR CARERS, wouldn't happen if our sick people were physically ill. I'm worn out, stressed out, tired, exhausted, mentally sick, fed up, frightened, and desperately worried, what good is a website or helpline for that. We need people on the ground, all day and night.

The crisis team seem hopeless, when someone is suicidal what use is someone on the end of a phone preaching mindfulness, hot showers, and thinking of a nice place to be. Ridiculous. Where is the physical presence? where are the people coming to visit? Where is the care and the duty of care?

I have phoned the crisis team on several occasions in the night to see what would happen, and on every occasion the number was engaged for at least fifteen minutes, if I was suicidal I could be dead in that time. Where is the evening cover? All staff are gone by 6. it's all talk and helplines and mindfulness.

We as carers don't need that and neither do service users, there is NO substitute for real people, and at night, evenings and weekends that's what we want. A drop in centre manned at night, staff to SEE you at evenings at weekends. Not just to fob you off with helplines.

I have attended carers meetings in various locations and all I hear are the same stories of poor care and total lack of interest and concern, it is a disgrace. We need people on the ground, not helplines and websites.

Where and when can I expect them please?? I would like an answer to my questions please.

Response from Jane Sayer, Director of Nursing, Quality and Patient Safety, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for sending in your feedback about the care for you and your son. We would really like to address the concerns you have so would invite you to phone the service on 01603 421565 to talk this through and better meet your needs.

As a trust we do value the tremendous contribution that carers make, and therefore we need to ensure carers such as yourself feel supported. I have passed your concerns about the crisis service to one of the managers for comment, but we would hope that by engaging with you and your son, we could look at the situation as a whole.

I am sorry that you have not had a good expereince of our service to date, and hope that we can work with you to improve things for you and your family.

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