"CAMHS Southampton"

About: Solent NHS Trust

(as the patient),

I have had the quite frankly, misery of previously being under the care of the Child and Adolescent mental health team in Southampton. Over the 3/4 years spent working with them, I experienced 5 mental health nurses, 4 psychologists/therapists, 2 family therapists, 1 psychiatrist, 1 social worker and the senior director. It became one therapy after another; family therapy, cbt, cat, cat again, art, psychodynamic therapy.

During these crucial adolescent years, I battled Anorexia which turned into severe bulimia, daily suicidal idealisation (combined with 5 general paediatric ward admissions), extreme self harm and self medication; alongside increasing hallucinations, audio delusions and psychosis symptoms. Looking back as a now recovered adult, I was extremely unwell and failed to receive the care I needed.

On many occasions, I was hours from death. Organ failure. Liver failure. Dehydration. Low pulse. Fainting. And at this point, with my parents refusing to have me at home, a psychiatrist informed the ward staff (Southampton general hospital) I was not to be spoken too. This was not the only occasion where my needs were ignored and I was left alone; fighting to keep myself alive with what little desire I had to live left. Reflecting, I became more and more unwell as I began seeing staff more and more. Being ignored and rejected, only made my mental and physical health decline.

If, at the age of 17 1/2, I had not made the impromptue decision to discharge myself from the service (after restricting heavily over the final months, slipping yet further into the black hole I was stuck in and refusing to attend sessions at all) I would never have recovered. I believe that CAMHS not only failed to adequately keep me safe; I was neglected as the severely mentally ill patient I was. My recovery was hindered and extended. These events are now from around 4 years ago.

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Response from Ann Rice, Head of Patient Insight & Professional Leadership, Solent NHS Trust

Thank you for taking the time to share reflections of your experience when you were under the care of our CAMHS service. We are very sorry to hear your memories as an adult of your adolescent experience are not positive. We are aware of how valuable the insight of adults who have used our services as children can be to help inform us on how we can improve services. After having read your posting, our Clinical Director would very much appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to give you the opportunity to feedback to the service directly and to hear and learn from you. If you would be willing to meet he would also like to have the opportunity to discuss the recent changes that have been made to the service with the aim of improving patient and carer experience, and hear your views on these changes.

If you do decide to contact us please do so either via telephone contact with our PALS team on 0800 013 2319 or by email snhs.schpatientfeedback@nhs.net and ask that Ann Rice Head of Patient Experience is informed of your contact.

We are very pleased to hear that you have now recovered and wish you well for the future.

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