Young People Sent Hundreds Of Miles Away From Home For Mental Health Treatment With Deadly Consequences

Youngster and adolescent  people are being taken country miles faraway from home for psychiatric treatment which sometimes poses a harmful outcome despite a government agreement to bring to an end these deployments by the end  of last year.

 And two months back, 20-year-old Lauren Bridges committed sucide. She felt abandoned in a mental health institution which is about 250 miles distant  from her family.

The gesture was meant to be short term, but when she passed on she had been held up there for nine months.

"Soon as I saw the phone ring, I knew. I just knew," said her mother, Lindsey Bridges.

"In the weeks leading up, she was very let down. She said that she could see no way out, she was going to be held in that hospital forever."

The government vowed to put a stop to all inappropriate out-of-area psychiatric deployment by the end of 2021, yet there were  about 660 outstanding active inappropriate out-of-area placements (IOAP) in England.

Collectively, these improper deployments cost the NHS nearly  £118m in 2021.

However, these figures  only mirror the placing we know about and do not depict the comprehensive situation.

'Lauren would still be alive'

Lauren has s spectrum disorder, with an intelligence quotient much younger than 20, but was severed under the Mental Health Act after being confirmed  with a mental disorder.

She was being processed within the neighbourhood before she was relocated to Manchester because of a lack of beds space in her home town of Dorset.

Ms Bridges asserted  that if the government had been hot on the trail to close out all out-of-area deployments, "then we would still have Lauren, and other families might still have their children".

She claimed she wasn't forewarned about her female child relocation: "I woke up to a phone call from Lauren. She was hysterical, crying her eyes out.

"She said hospital transport was on its way to pick her up and she was being sent to Manchester."

"She was scared to death", she said, adding that the distance was "absolutely" a  component in why Lauren committed suicide.

"It broke me, it was just devastating. There was nothing I could do. I tried everything in my power to get her moved."

A mouthpiece  from Dorset HealthCare, the trust which govern  Lauren's positioning, said they could not remark on personal placements, but said: "Out-of-area placements are always used only as a last resort by services, either when we are at full capacity or when a person has very complex needs and requires specialist care not available within Dorset.

"We have always been committed to reducing the need for out-of-area placements, in line with the NHS Long Term Plan, and over the past few years we have undertaken an extensive programme of work to achieve this."

In December, the brand new available data for IOAPS, a quarter of relevant providers did not register any figure.

This non-response rate  accounted for the highest in the South East, where nearly 40% were unsuccessful  to release figures relating to IOAPs.

Of the out-of-area placements registered that were still active as at the end of 2021, about 91% were considered  unsuitable.

Of those active during 2021 that is registered, almost half (48.4%) were a distance of 100km (66.6 miles) or more from the patient's home, according to NHS figures.

Placing for youngsters , however, are not chronicled  at all.

 Imogen Smee, who dangerously needed to be admitted in the hospital, though the family's happiness of being provided a bedstead gradually  changed to despair after she was relocated almost seven hours away from their home to Bury.

She was about13 years old at the time.

Claire Oliver, her mother, disbursed all of her resources on fuel and Airbnbs, so she could be near her daughter: "I thought she's never going to get better if she knows I'm not here.

Five months later, in November 2021, Imogen was released from hospital, but Ms Oliver said there was no arrangement  for her comeback to Kent, and that she was now so unwell that she did not leave her room.

"She went in hardly self-harming, and she came out, and she is covered in scars. Her body looks like she's the walking wounded," said Ms Oliver.

She has now had to quit from her job to be Imogen's full-time carer, and expressed the situation the family were stuck in "inhumane".

"And she's still not taking any medication, and I'm like, what was the point in that?" said Ms Oliver.

"Our life has fallen apart completely.

"The impact, it's life-changing. I don't recognise myself, I don't recognise my daughter.

"I don't know whether we're ever going to come back from this."

Ms Oliver's MP, Rosie Duffield, is now contendinto get the issue brought up  in parliament.

Ms Duffield said: "It's really become urgent, we need the health secretary to look at this and to ring-fence that mental health spending, so it is directed towards the services and not leaked to other emergency areas in the NHS.

"We really need this to be taken seriously."

And the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych) acknowledges that the only way out is more funding - not just for community mental health services, but also to restore inpatient beds that have been shortened by 70% in the last 30 years.

Dr Trudi Seneviratne, registrar of the RCPsych, notified  Sky News: "Sending people miles away for their treatment is simply unacceptable.

"It is devastating for their mental health, and I use the word devastating because it is truly devastating."

Thus is because being so far away from home, even when the care is good, "hinders recovery", she said.

"To avoid out-of-area placements where possible, the reality on the ground is that the system isn't working.

"Even though we're having the expansion of community services, there are so many areas across the country that don't have enough inpatients beds. So when it's a last resort, and somebody really does need to have treatment on an inpatient ward, the trust has no choice other than to recommend an out-of-area placement."

A Department of Health and Social Care mouthpiece said: "Everyone should have access to safe, appropriate mental health care and we recognise the impact that receiving care far away from loved ones can have.

"That's why we are investing an extra £2.3bn per year to transform NHS mental health services by 2024, meaning more people will be able to receive care as close to home as possible.

"To address the impacts of the pandemic, we have provided an additional £500m through our Mental Health Recovery Action Plan, to make sure support is in place this financial year."

Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email [email protected] in the UK. In the US, call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK

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