There are 2 principal shortcomings within the mental health care system relating to addiction:
1. Advanced, life-threatening dependecy on alcohol or drugs ought to be a distinct and valid diagnosis under the terms of the Mental Health legislation in the UK (just as Anorexia Nervosa, Bipolar, Depression,etc, is);
2. Wider application of the Mental Health Act 1983 by medical professionals to ensure that individuals who have a dual diagnosis that includes addiction have improved access to appropriate medical treatment. Where necessary, to include compulsory admission.
With regard to the treatment of ill mental health and addiction, we ask that you review the two principal shortcomings we have identified:
“Young people in this country wait far too long to access mental health services. Even when accessed, children and young people are consistently let down by the services which were designed to help them. People need to be listened to and their cries for help answered.
For the past 2 years, my son Jay, was let down by the system. He was passed backwards and forwards between services, leaving him broken and fractured. Tragically, he died at the age of 22. Sadly. it is far too late for my beautiful son, but it is not too late for countless others like him. Please sign this petition and help raise awareness.
In desperation, Jay resorted to self-medication and self-harm to escape the mental torture that permeated every aspect of his life. He begged the drug and alcohol services to help with the devastating and agonizing pain from withdrawal from prescription painkillers. They refused on the grounds that they did not consider him an addict. Jay and I knew otherwise. Just 5 weeks before he died Jay begged professionals to be sectioned. He could not live with the pain and he thought about suicide at the Tyne Bridge. He began to lose all hope as he felt it was unlikely that he would ever receive any professional and medical intervention. On top of his addiction, Jay battled anorexia, OCD & Intrusive Thoughts, depression, anxiety, self-harm as a solution. We discovered by chance that over a year ago it was suspected that Jay had Bi-polar. This was never followed up and he was never given treatment.
Jay cried in my arms every night. The drug and alcohol services he went to for detox insisted he was not an addict and just gave Jay medication for the pain and stomach cramps. This was 10 days before he lost his life. The week Jay died I took back to the Doctors for the millionth time as his anxiety, depression and self-harm had intensified. We saw a different doctor who informed us that Jay’s medication was ineffective as it was not prescribed as an adult’s dosage. My son was left to just get on with it. He had been having mental health assessments since he was 13…
I have lost my son and I do not want to lose my brother. The Mental Health system helps many but it lets down many more, often with tragic results.” ANNA KERRIGAN, JAY’S MOTHER