A MOTHER is urgently calling for more funding for NHS mental health services in Coventry after her daughter who tried to commit suicide twice in three weeks was told she had to wait six months to see a mental health professional.
Sarah Hardy has slammed what she calls the ‘dreadful’ mental health provision in the city after her 18-year-old daughter received no thorough assessment by a trained mental health professional in the wake of her suicide attempts.
The daughter, who did not wish to be named, is now having to wait until the end of March – six months after her first suicide attempt – to finally have a one-to-one appointment with a medical professional.
As a nurse herself, Sarah knows first-hand the pressure NHS staff are under.
But she is now warning that mental health services in Coventry are at breaking point and is calling for more to be done to help those in desperate need of help.
Sarah said: “I am disgusted but am also equally concerned that others are receiving this appalling care.
“As someone who works in the NHS, I understand the strains all the wonderful staff are under.
“But the lack of funding means mental health staff are having to focus on patients who are psychotic rather than those who are depressed or suicidal.
“There is no sense of prevention – how many people have to die before the government sees this as a problem?”
In September last year, Sarah’s daughter attempted suicide after months of suffering from depression.
They waited for seven hours in A&E to see a mental health specialist only for him to have short conversation with the daughter before saying she was fine to return home.
But this was not the case and just three weeks later she attempted suicide again – this time swallowing a toxic dose of paracetamol.
The only mental health assessment Sarah’s daughter received after her second suicide attempt was a brief telephone call from the local crisis team.
Sarah said: “Despite this being her second overdose in three weeks and only speaking to her for a few minutes they told her she was fine.
“I didn’t know whether I would walk in one day and she’d be dead.
“This last year has been a nightmare for my husband and I.
“She spends most of her days in bed crying, but apparently after that short conversation she was fine.”
Sarah is now urgently calling for more funding to be ploughed into mental health provision to help combat problems of under-funding and under-staffing.
“By speaking out I hope the services will improve for people suffering from mental health issues, including my daughter,” Sarah said.
“I understand the strains the service is under but I also expect that as a family who give so much to society that when it is our time of need that we can expect a service that meets our needs.
“How can anyone be expected to wait 6 months to see a mental health professional when you are so unwell?”
Coventry North West MP, Geoffrey Robinson, championed Mrs Hardy’s cause in Parliament on Monday.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the treatment of Sarah’s daughter was ‘not good enough’ and agreed to meet with her, after looking into why she was made to wait for so long to see a mental health professional.