Friday Brief: ‘I don’t have the first idea how to get my child help’
More on the children's mental health crisis, some news in brief and activities for the weekend
We had a lot of reaction this week to our story about the secrecy around waiting lists for children’s mental health services. One case we were contacted about seemed to perfectly sum up the issues so many Northamptonshire families are facing. With the parents’ permission we tell that story below.
With parliament in recess, there will be no weekly Westminster Watch over the summer but it will return in September.
Hayley*, 12, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and ADHD in 2017 when she was just seven years-old. The pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns impacted her mental health further and her father says she now experiences severe anxiety. This was manageable until a few months ago when a combination of issues led to some ‘explosive incidents’ in school.
“Hayley started threatening to harm herself and others and was clearly in need of some help. We were already on a CAMHS waiting list for discussing the ADHD issues and possible medication,” Hayley’s father says.
“I contacted our GP practice - no-one has their own GP anymore, it seems - and spoke to a doctor there. She explained that there was nothing she could do, because they cannot deal with children’s mental health even as an emergency matter, but that she would write to CAMHS and asked us to provide supporting evidence.”
Two week’s ago Hayley’s father says the family were told that CAMHS had discussed her case a few weeks before and that Hayley had been moved up the list.
“We got an appointment but attending it was quite an ordeal for Hayley but we got her there.”
However, the family says it soon became clear that the appointment was to discuss ADHD only and not ASD and they were told another part of CAHMS deals with mental health.
“We explained - as had the doctor’s letter and our supporting evidence - that we need help with the anxiety but they didn’t seem to think we were even registered for that.
“So now I have to start all over again, with talk of an eight-month waiting list. I don’t have the first idea how to get my child - who has likely suffered several small breakdowns - any help at all, let alone the help she needs. It is causing serious issues in my relationship with my wife and impacting my own mental health.
“The worst thing is that I am sure there are hundreds like us.”
News in brief
The Cobblers Supporters Trust says it will withdraw the development plan it was hoping to bring forward for the old athletics track land behind the East Stand at Sixfields after their proposed partner in the project Goodwill Solutions unexpectedly withdrew.
The plans, which the trust says could bring in £250,000 a year investment to the club, were presented to West Northants Council in June.
“We have always said that this land at Sixfields should be ring fenced for club and community benefit,” Andy Roberts, chair of Northampton Town Supporters Trust, said.
“We believed our partnership with Goodwill would have delivered a viable and imaginative plan for the land which ticked so many boxes for both the football club, its supporters, visiting supporters and the town of Northampton…The Trust will now continue to explore other options for the old athletics track land in the time available to us.”
The activist group Extinction Rebellion is planning an event in support of the Weekley Hall Woods Campaign this Sunday. The group, known for a series of high profile protests is holding a ‘family picnic’ on the grounds of Boughton House which is owned by the Duke of Buccleuch who is also the land owner of under threat Kettering woodland. We’ll have a full report on the event on Monday.
Mayor of Northampton, Cllr Dennis Meredith, is taking part in a charity walk at Abington Park tomorrow to raise funds for the St Vincent de Paul Society and the Army Benevolent Fund. He is starting at the bandstand at 2pm and there will be buckets for donations.
Police are appealing for witnesses after a man attempted to inappropriately grab a woman in Corby town centre. The woman said he then tried to touch two other women.
Officers would like to speak to anyone who may have been approached by the man or who may have witnessed a man acting in an inappropriate manner between 3.20pm and 3.45pm on Saturday, July 9.
🌻Delapre Abbey is holding a garden history tour this Sunday at 11.30am and 2pm. There is no need to book and it’s free to attend
🎸There will be 12 hours of live music at the Charles Bradlaugh pub in Northampton on Saturday. Tickets are £6 on the door.
🎨Wellingborough library has an arts and crafts session aimed at children aged 4+ between 12-2 as well as a poetry session at the same time aimed at 12 year-olds and older. Pop into the library to book a place.