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(UK) Alexandria: Children left 'abandoned' by mental health services

Dec 8, 2022, Dumbarton Reporter: CAMHS: Alexandria mum of schoolboy feels abandoned by services


The MUM of an Alexandria schoolboy who has been left "abandoned" by children's mental health services says children are being failed.

Demi Gardner is a mum to primary seven pupil Charlie, who was referred to Child and Adolscent Meanth Health Services (CAMHS) in January 2020.

A few months later in April Charlie had his first video consultation with a doctor from the organisation, but has never heard from them since - and still doesn't have a diagnosis.

His mum said that without treatment, he has now become withdrawn and doesn't like to spend time with other children.

It was only when she found a video he had posted to TikTok where he asked if anyone felt like they wanted to die because they were so different that she knew something had to be done.

Demi told the CAMHS service, but it said it would make no difference to his waiting time. The service instead informed her that it could be another two years before Charlie receives the support he needs.

Demi Gardner said: "I feel that Charlie has been completely abandoned by the services which are meant to be there to support him.

"It is really difficult as a family to function knowing that he isn't getting the diagnosis and treatment which could make such a huge difference to his life.

"When I spoke to CAMHS recently, they said they were working on referrals from 2018 which is astonishing. That means, having had his difficulties identified early on in primary school, he could be in high school before anything is done.

"That is completely unacceptable. Our children are being failed and no one is doing anything about it."

Previously the Reporter told in June how two West Dunbartonshire children have been waiting for urgent mental health support for around 10 months.

The youngsters, and other local families, have been left to struggle with the likes of autism, anxiety and depression while languishing on a waiting list for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)….

“My heart goes out to him and his family along with the countless others who cannot get the support they desperately need. Scottish Labour have a clear action plan while the Scottish Government are busy making excuses.”

Commenting following First Minister’s Questions, Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said: "This not good enough. Charlie is not alone. There are thousands of children like him.

“When Charlie’s mother phoned CAMHS they said they were still working through cases from 2018.

“This Government has never met its CAMHS waiting time and according to Public Health Scotland a quarter of all deaths of 5–24-year-olds in our country are from suicide.

“Child and adolescent mental health services are in crisis and they have been since long before the pandemic; 8,873 children and young people have had their referrals to CAMHS rejected in the past year and 1,248 have now been waiting more than a year for their first appointment. …


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