'Mental health services failed my teenage son' claims Doncaster mum

An angry Doncaster mum has criticised children’s mental health services, claiming they failed her teenage son.

Monday, 12th April 2021, 12:00 pm

Lisa Ansell, from Thorne, feels Doncaster Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) failed to look past his autism, leading to him being taken into secure accommodation for his own protection.

Her son, Ciaran, 17, first showed symptoms of autism 11 years ago. She feels mismanagement of his condition led to worse mental health problems.

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Mum Lisa Ansell with son Ciaran

By the age of 13, he stopped leaving the house. He has not attended school for five years.

As his condition worsened, he stopped talking altogether, communicating by notes.

He later threatened self harm.

He was finally referred to CAMHS on November 11. He received a visit on January 8.

Miss Ansell said in 2019, CAMHS said there was nothing they could do for Ciaran, saying he was being non-communicative.

Before Christmas 2020, he was taken to A&E as his condition worsened, but was told to go home. She said when she rang CAMHS, they said they had finished for Christmas.

By this point the family was concerned their son would self harm, and took shifts making sure he did not.

By March 25, a panel agreed he needed a bed in a psychiatric unit. None were available.

One was found for him, in Stafford, on March 26.

Miss Ansell said: “His problems started aged 13, but it took CAMHS nine months to get involved. Then they wouldn’t look beyond the autism.

"There shouldn’t be that sort of lack of services for children. There is just not enough support.”

She praised Cura Care, which provided respite care through Doncaster Council. She is now starting a petition for more support for children.

Michelle Veitch, Chief Operating Officer for Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH) said: “We would never comment publicly whether a person uses our services in order to maintain patient confidentiality.

“However, speaking generally we work closely with other organisations and services to support young people with concerns about their mental health.

“We always encourage any patients or carers who have a complaint about any aspect of our services to contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Team by calling 0800 015 4334 so that we can fully look into their comments. We always take complaints extremely seriously.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.