Mansfield woman says agencies have 'failed' her 'schizophrenic' young relative

“He is awake all night, where he will try to kill himself and self harm. There was an incident where he tried to take his own life and ended up in hospital."

These are the heartbreaking words of concerned Blidworth woman Karen Hill, whose young relative is struggling with mental health issues which “pose a risk to his life”.

Karen, aged 49, has been battling with organisations such as NHS's Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services to seek emergency referrals, but says her family is being "ignored".

The boy, aged under 12, “hears voices and has suicidal thoughts” and has progressively got worse over the last two years.

She says he has attempted suicide twice in the last month but, despite emergency referrals from both the 111 helpline and a GP, as well as making several self-referrals, the family have received “little support”.

Now they are calling for more action - before it is too late.

Karen said the family received a letter from CAMHS on October 16 to arrange an appointment, but were told it could take “weeks or months” for him to be seen.

She wants his story to be told to “give him a voice” - and feels more urgent action should be provided to save him from doing anything “more drastic”.

Karen said: “There was a time when he tried to bite into a glowstick just to ‘see what it tastes like’, because voices told him to.

“It looks like early-onset schizophrenia, but we cannot get him diagnosed because we can’t get through to CAMHS.

“We’ve had referrals to numerous care systems, but no-one has supported him or provided the help we need.

“After he tried to kill himself we rang 111 and their clinicians referred him, and my doctor also referred him, but we’ve only just received this letter."

Karen said she even struggled to get a GP appointment, but even when she was successful, the emergency referrals were not acted upon.

With his “erratic” behaviour getting worse, concerned Karen fears going to sleep at night because of “what he might do next”.

She said: “When I rang the crisis team, I was told to take all the knives out of my kitchen and sleep with them in my bedroom, because he has got a fascination with knives and fire.

“I was told to lock all of the medication away and take away anything he could harm himself with.

“We have tried so hard and it scares the life out of me to walk in and see what he might do next.”

A spokeswoman for Nottinghamshire Healthcare, which runs the CAMHS service in the county, said its usual processes "have been followed" in this case.

The spokeswoman said: "If there are any identified risks which are highlighted within a referral, these are often responded to with a telephone call to the family to establish risk and discuss options around safety measures.

"At the point of acceptance into the service all young people/families will be asked to phone the service to make an appointment for a day and time suitable for them.

"While we would not comment on individual cases, we can confirm these processes have been followed in this instance and if clinically indicated an assessment will be prioritised."

If your family is suffering from similar issues, call CAMHS on 0115 956 0866.