"I was forced to choose between my education and my treatment"

About: April House

(as the patient),

I was transferred from CAMHS to April House on turning 18, where I was assessed and begun to get treatment for Anorexia. The therapist I saw was lovely but unfortunately the treatment itself was terrible.

With CAMHS, my treatment was with the support of my parents, FBT, and CBT, taking a united approach against my illness because my mind was too sick to commit to recovery by myself.

Suddenly, at April House, I was left completely to my own (and thus my ED's) devices. My parents were not involved at all, and I was told that I had to motivate myself to recovery. I had to commit to recovery and do it alone. My mind and my brain was sick, but I was told I had to use that very organ that was sick to commit to getting better. If you ask me, that makes no sense at all. Without any involvement from my parents or family members at home, of course I lost weight. Ultimately, this led to my discharge - I was considered 'not ready' for recovery. I should mention that I was given the choice between joining the ICS programme (day patient) or discharge. However, at this time I was just about to do my AS exams for the second time, having retaken the AS year at college. Joining the ICS programme would involve totally dropping out of college. I fought really hard for my place to restart college, and as it was so close to exams when I was offered ICS, I didn't want to give up.

I was forced to choose between my education and my treatment. April House said that, as I chose to stay at college, I was clearly not committed to recovery. That's rubbish. I would love to be able to recover, but I have not been given what I need to enable this to happen. I made progress in my recovery whilst at CAMHS, but once transferred to (and eventually thrown out of) April House, I slowly relapsed and am now without any mental health support whatsoever.

I understand that individuals with eating disorders have to want to change, but requiring them to recover all by themselves, without the support of their family or anyone else, is surely a recipe for relapse? I don't believe that the treatment offered to me by April House is based on the more recent evidence from studies into Eating Disorders, and I think it should be. I am now in a worse place mentally and physically for the first time in years, and I think that is down to the poor treatment and lack of support I have received.

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Response from Jane Tibble, Complaints and PALS Officer, Complaints and PALS, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for taking the time to post your valuable feedback and we are very sorry to learn that you were left feeling unsupported following your transfer from CAMHS into April House.

Thank you for your patience whilst enquires were being made.

I understand that you have been in touch with the Customer Experience team and have had a response to your concerns. If this is incorrect or you need any further help or assistance please do not hesitate to contact the Customer Experience Team on 02380 874065 or by email: hp-tr.customerexperience@nhs.net for assistance.

Kind regards

Jane Tibble

Customer Experience

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