"Everybody is telling us she has a problem, but nobody seems to realise the urgency and possible consequences"

About: Royal Edinburgh Hospital / Adolescent Psychiatry

(as a parent/guardian),

My teenage daughter has in the last two years totally changed from being a well behaved intelligent high achiever at school to being in a state to almost total depression with small periods of normality in between.

It seems like I have two daughters in the one body, one loving and caring, the other spiteful, destructive and violent.

The periods of depression result in violent outbursts and damage to our house. I do not know what daughter will wake up in the morning, the loving one or the spiteful one. In the last six months the police have been called to my house about 15 times.

This first manifested itself with my daughters eating habits, she considered herself fat although she is only 8 stones and will only eat certain foods.

Our initial course of action towards the end of 2014 was to contact our GP and also her school. She was initially referred to Camhs (Children's Mental Health) by our GP, but Camhs approach (without even seeing her or myself) was that as the violence was mostly directed towards me, it was not a mental problem but behavioural. They did not want to know.

We went back to the GP about March or April this year as her behaviour was getting worse and eventually got an appointment with Camhs for June which was about 6 weeks away, but due to an incident in the house where the police were involved we contacted them again and this was brought forward. They did offer an earlier appointment but it was at the same time as her school National Grade Exams.

My husband, my daughter and myself went to an assessment where we were told she was an urgent case with some issues including an eating disorder and would be handed over to a case worker. This person was on holiday and not back in until June.

She became violent again and we were told to take her to Royal Edinburgh Hospital.

On arrival at the Royal Ed, no one seemed to know any of the background and after about a 2 hour wait.

we eventually were seen by a doctor who spent another two hours with us, again agreeing that she had a problem but then sent her home with the assurance we would hear from Camhs on Monday morning. No follow up call was received from Camhs on the Monday.

An incident occurred again and we took her straight to the Royal Edinburgh Hospital and eventually to the Camhs building.

We went there as an emergency case and were seen by a doctor.

The doctor was really helpful and caring and after about 4 hours, we had the impression that doctor wanted to admit my daughter for further assessment, but this needed the approval of the inpatient consultant.

There was a discussion between staff and (without even having seen my daughter) and stated it was a behavioral problem and had nothing to do with them but they would treat her for the eating disorder. Just to note that this occurred in May, we are now nearly in September and although my daughter has had about 4 appointments with Camhs, no one has even advised her on her eating problem.

The eating problems still continue and she is developing other behaviours.

I got an appointment with one of the Camhs Doctors at the Sick Kids in Edinburgh, I was in tears begging for help, but the member of staff I saw was arrogant and would not listen and eventually I had to walk out in total frustration.

We had been put in touch by the Police with the Social Work Department who in turn referred us to MST, and I must say that both the MST adviser and the Police have been great, but I feel that Camhs just do not understand and are not interested in my daughter.

My daughter has told me she wants help and that when this darkness comes over her, there is nothing she can do to control it. When the violence ceases, she will roll about on the carpet banging her head on the floor berating herself for being stupid (her words) and for messing everything up.

We took her back to the GP recently to see if they could give her some medication to control the anxiety and my daughter told the GP she wanted to get better and she hated being in this state and has said that she feels that unhappy she wishes she was not here anymore. The GP told us that because my daughter can sometimes be happy even though it is for short periods, it cannot be depression.

Unfortunately as she is under Camhs the GP is not allowed to prescribe any medication.

We are getting very little follow up from Camhs, they are doing nothing to address her problems. She had an arrangement where a worker from Camhs would meet her and take her for a coffee and they were meant to discuss how she was getting on, but as this was in a public cafe my daughter felt inhibited to what she could or would say. Also there was very little contact between Camhs and myself. We felt that my daughter would only say what she thought Camhs would want to hear and were not interested in the bigger picture.

Everybody is telling us she has a problem, but nobody seems to realise the urgency and possible consequences. My great fear is that my daughter will attempt to take her own life or even in a fit of rage make an attempt on my life..

I did email the Scottish Health Minister and received a very prompt reply but was told that any clinical diagnosis was really out with her control. I can fully understand this but I was at my wits end.

This is tearing the family apart, I have another daughter and it must be affecting her in some way, but she tries to stay strong for me.

I feel my family have been very badly let down by Camhs which is meant to help children with issues and instead of moving forward over the six month period we have gone backwards. I would have liked to get her seen privately but at £150 an hour I do not have that sort of money. It takes us all we can to pay the mortgage.

She appears to be looking into an abyss and I am really frightened that if she goes into this abyss she will not come out.

Apologies for going on so long, and I am not sure what I have written will improve the treatment for my daughter, but it has a cathartic effect for myself, in being able to voice my emotions and vent some of the frustrations I feel.

From what I have seen on this website I am not alone in my opinion of Camhs.

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Response from Jeannette Morrison, Head of Patient Experience, NHS Lothian

Dear beyond despair,

I was so sorry your daughter and family are experiences such a difficult time. I can appreciate how frustrated, angry and upset you are. You raise a number of important points. I am not the expert in CAMHS so I would like to get the right person to look into this for you so we can try to help your daughter.

If you would like to get in touch with us please contact the Patient Experience Team (feedback@nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk ot Tel 0131 536 3370).

Kind regards

Jeannette Morrison

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful