Man battling 'vivid' suicide thoughts hits out at mental health trust following year-long wait for treatment
PUBLISHED: 13:35 18 January 2019 | UPDATED: 13:35 18 January 2019
A 24-year-old man has admitted he is at breaking point after waiting more than a year to receive treatment from the region's mental health trust.
Brandon Carpenter, from Great Yarmouth, said he has battled ‘vivid’ suicide thoughts for more than five years but now feels he is a burden to the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) as he continues to reach out for its services.
Mr Carpenter described the NSFT as the worst mental health service he has used.
He said in both Hertfordshire - where he was born - and Hastings, he was the given the guidance and support he needed.
The 24-year-old has been living in Great Yarmouth since August 2016 but is yet to see anyone from the NSFT face-to-face for treatment.
The trust was placed in special measures for the third time in November 2018.
An NSFT spokesman said it is a priority for the trust to resolve ongoing issues around access to services, waiting lists and staffing levels.
Mr Carpenter has been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder following a troubled childhood, as well as anxiety and depression.
He has been on medication since 2009 to help ease the effects of his mental health problems.
Three years ago Brandon tried to kill himself as he reached rock bottom.
“I just want to be able to meet with someone and be reassured there are other people out there that are suffering like me,” Mr Carpenter said.
“Things have been very difficult over the past couple of years and it just seems as though they [the NSFT] do not care about me.
“I am terrified of people because of my childhood and am desperate for more support.
“There are lots of days when I break down and just cannot stop crying.”
Having moved to Great Yarmouth, he contacted the NSFT who carried out an assessment of him in April 2018 and it was decided he needed psychological therapies to help ease his anxiety and depression.
Several unsuccessful attempts to contact the wellbeing team at Northgate Hospital to arrange further support prompted his GP to send an email to the NSFT in October.
This detailed the GP’s concern about Mr Carpenter’s health and his desperation to turn his life around.
Following this intervention, Brandon was told he would have to pay for counselling should he wish to receive this support.
Being out of work and on benefits due to his mental health, this was something he was unable to afford.
Counselling costs £30 per session.
The 24-year-old said: “To not be able to get the support you need because you cannot afford it is just outrageous.
“I have never known a service like this. It just is not right at all.”
A spokesperson for NSFT said: “People registered with our service are offered a wellbeing support line, which is a free out of hours number - if they find themselves in crisis.
“We also provide details of free social events we hold around the region and we signpost people to a range of free services, depending upon their needs, as well as the Samaritans – who offer a free service.”
Brandon is currently being looked after by his partner, Stefano Delgado, who also works as a full time carer.
Mr Delgado has admitted he finds it difficult to look after him on his own.
“Balancing a job on top of looking after Brandon is very difficult,” he said.
“He has been in a really bad way and clearly needs more help than he is getting.
“It is not fair on anyone.”
Since this newspaper contacted the NSFT about Brandon’s situation, he said a member of the wellbeing team has been in touch with him to apologise for the time it has taken for them to see him.
He has been offered another assessment but said he is frustrated that he will not be able to see someone face-to-face.
Have you been unable to access mental health support in Norfolk? Let us know by emailing Joe Norton via firstname.lastname@example.org