"Long delay in getting help for teenage daughter"

About: Livewell South West

(as a parent/guardian),

My daughter was seeing a psychologist at Derriford hospital due to suffering from CFS who discovered she was suffering depression and social anxiety admitting to the psychologist she made a few attempts on her life this was in October 2013 at the age of 14.

I was then told it would be four months before my daughter could have an appointment with Camhs and she would be on a waiting list. My daughter was not attending school at this time due to depression could not function in her daily life. I was very worried she would take her life at this point.

The psychologist managed to get an emergency appointment at Camhs for her in December. My daughter saw a specialist who saw her for about 15 minutes gave her a prescription for antidepressants which when we got home my daughter refused to take. I tried to get into contact with Camhs after many phone calls and messages left no one got back to me. There was no aftercare at this point and no one to turn to for help. This should of never happened in my opinion.

Then Christmas came so I gave up trying to contact Camhs until January. In this time my daughter was very depressed and suicidal. My daughter did not want to go out and could not bring herself to socialise even with family she spent a lot of time in bed. I had to be with her all the time to keep an eye on her. My daughter was also self harming.

In January I started phoning Camhs every day until I eventually got a response. My daughter finally got a appointment with the specialist in the middle of January 2014. It has been a long journey which she is still going through. It is now February 2015 and she has only just been offered counselling. I had to pay privately for counselling back in July 14 and my daughter still goes to private counselling.

I seriously believe that when my daughter was referred, an appointment should be within a couple of weeks, not months down the line. Also counselling should be offered at the beginning not 14 months after. I was told the counselling would only last 6 weeks so this would mean 6 visits which really would not be enough support for someone who has suffered depression for a long time. My daughter did have some appointments with at risk nurse in between appointments with the specialist but this was only for a very short time. It took about 5 months then she had a support worker but this did not work out.

I do feel that these young people need to be helped as soon as possible after a referral. Counselling should be offered at the beginning and be ongoing throughout treatment. Group therapy and individual therapy should be offered. Also at one point she could of been admitted into hospital which I was told would be anywhere in the country because there was no beds for young mental health patients in Plymouth.. I was horrified at this prospect but thankfully it did not come to that. I do feel that teenagers do not belong in a adult mental health unit. I also think there should be adequate facilities in your local area.

The specialist she is under is very good. If I have any concerns I can ring and leave a message and he will phone me back but he can only do what he can with the resources that he can provide. My daughter has come a long way since her first appointment but still has a way to go. It worries me that other young people who are going through depression might not make it to their first appointment with Camhs due to waiting too long for the appointment when they are desperate for help.

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Responses

Response from Wendy Hill, Livewell South West

We are very sorry to hear that your experience of the CAMH service has not been satisfactory. In order for us to investigate the issues you have raised and avoid other families having similar experiences, we would need some further details from you about your daughter. If you would like us to look into your concerns, we would be happy to do this. If you could please provide your details by contacting the customer services department on:

Tel: 01752 435201

or

Email customerservicespch@nhs.net

With thanks

Wendy Hill

Patient Experience Manager

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