"Trying to get help in Leeds for my daughter - and failing"

About: Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust / Adult mental health

(as a relative),

My daughter is 23 and was seen privately by a psychiatrist 4 years ago at the age of 19. She was diagnosed with adolescent cognitive disorder... or something for which she attended cognitive therapy.

Now things are just so much worse... there has been not much improvement and now she is on anti-depressants and very, very depressed. She has started self harming and threatening suicide.

She cannot get any help. The Leeds NHS crisis response hotline said: oh lets see how you are next week and if you don't feel any better we will try and get someone to see you (not necessarily on the same day). She is so low and all the GP can do is point to the condescending folks on the phone, who seem to think that because a person can get out of bed and see friends then there is nothing much wrong.

All this is a cry for help and there is no one who will do any kind of assessment and take her as an inpatient anywhere. There is just no facility we can turn to as parents of an adult, who is both child-like and desperate for help.

Her arms are cut to ribbons and she is not eating or drinking unless she is pushed. It's all a desperate mess, and all the crisis help line says is "where did you get this number from?" and "I can't talk to you" (because she is an adult), and "have you tried taking her to A&E?" But that's not a good idea as it's a last resort.

These kind of helpful (sarcasm creeping in) comments are less than helpful and then when they do talk to her we get the "let's see what happens next week".

The fact is, she is desperate now and all we get is platitudes. Is this the appalling state of mental health help in the NHS, for people who just want help and find... nothing? Let's hope she is still around next week.

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Responses

Response from Victoria Betton, Deputy Director of Strategy and Partnerships, Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

We’re so sorry to hear that your daughter is in so much distress and that you are feeling unsupported.

We’ll look in to this first thing on Monday and if you’d like to contact us at communications.lypft@nhs.net with your details then we’ll make sure a member of staff gets in touch with you.

In the meantime, you can visit the ‘I need help’ section of our website to find out about local services that can help over the weekend.

http://www.leedspft.nhs.uk/service_users/i_need_help

You might be particularly interested in DIAL House which is a user-led crisis service which runs every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday 6pm – 2am. You can contact them on 0113 260 9328.

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Response from Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust We are preparing to make a change

Dear Ghostwriter,

I am very sorry to hear of your experiences in trying to access appropriate help for your daughter. It really does sound a distressing situation for all of you and I wholly agree that this is not something that you should have to manage alone.

I am Dr Guy Brookes, Associate Medical Director for Adult Mental Health Services in Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. As is the case across our organisation I am keen to hear of people’s experiences of accessing our services and receiving care for their mental health needs. Sometimes it allows us to improve the care we deliver and sometimes it simply allows us to put people in touch with the right part of our service so that they can get the care they need.

At the present time we are enhancing the way in which people can access a variety of our services and so receive appropriate help quickly and from the right people at all times.

We are doing this by developing a Single Point of Access, available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. This will mean that in the future, people like yourself will get a clear response which meets your needs whenever you contact us.

I have already brought your experience to the attention of our senior managers who are keen to understand more about what has happened so that they can take appropriate action.

However, I appreciate that this does not help you right now. From your description it appears that you have contacted various places in an attempt to get help without success and that you need a timely response.

I wonder therefore, to save the risk of further frustration, whether it might be easiest for you to contact me through our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS), or through the email address Victoria has kindly provided above. If we knew a little more about yours and your daughter’s needs I am confident that we could be of help.

PALS can be contacted on 0800 0525790 or at pals.lypft@nhs.net.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours,

Guy Brookes

Associate Medical Director for Adult Mental Health Services in Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust