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Northrepps mother's frustration over accessing mental health care for her son

PUBLISHED: 16:34 12 June 2017 | UPDATED: 18:46 12 June 2017

Michelle Kimp of Northrepps, with her son, Robert, 12, who has ASD but has had very little help from mental health services. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Michelle Kimp of Northrepps, with her son, Robert, 12, who has ASD but has had very little help from mental health services. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2017

A mother claims she was told her son being suicidal was not necessarily a mental health issue.

Michelle Kimp of Northrepps, with her son, Robert, 12, who has ASD but has had very little help from mental health services. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYMichelle Kimp of Northrepps, with her son, Robert, 12, who has ASD but has had very little help from mental health services. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Michelle Kimp, 35, has struggled to get the appropriate medical treatment for her 12-year-old son Robert - who has aspergers and ADD - for around seven years.

Mrs Kimp said due to his conditions Robert had depression and had spoken about taking his own life.

But she said after bounced being between children and young people’s mental health services - known as CAHMS - and his paediatrician, she was told last November that “suicide is not necessarily mental health”.

“It was an incredibly long process to get a diagnosis in the first place,” said Mrs Kimp, who lives in Northrepps.

Michelle Kimp of Northrepps, with her son, Robert, 12, who has ASD but has had very little help from mental health services. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYMichelle Kimp of Northrepps, with her son, Robert, 12, who has ASD but has had very little help from mental health services. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“The first time we went to CAHMS Robert had not been diagnosed at this point and they said he did not have a mental health problem.

“I said ‘he’s trying to kill himself, tell me that if I end up finding him dead’.”

Mrs Kimp said she was particularly conscious of the risk as her cousin took his own life aged 16.

“It’s as if he’s got to seriously harm himself, harm someone else or kill himself before someone will help him,” she said.

Mental health watch logo. Photo: ArchantMental health watch logo. Photo: Archant

“He’s got massive self loathing, he’s always saying he wishes he was not here.”

After Robert’s diagnosis, he was referred back to CAHMS.

“They told me the depression was not his main problem,” said Mrs Kimp, which she admitted was true but still was serious enough to be treated.

“And they said considering suicide was not necessarily a mental health problem.”

Mrs Kimp said she thought Robert’s depression stemmed for being different.

“He hates having to have medication so he beats himself up, mentally and physically. Before he even knew what he was doing he would put himself on the naughty step when he hadn’t done anything wrong, and tell me his brain had made him naughty.”

Robert has now been referred to a neuro-development disorder team.

“But it’s a battle to get them to keep him, who say that because he’s not mental health they shouldn’t be treating him.”

Mrs Kimp believes the issues with treatment come because children on the autistic spectrum do not tick the right boxes.

“I went to a post diagnosis meeting a few weeks ago and was told this was normal because there isn’t the funding for autistic children with mental health. Because they present differently to ‘normal’ children with mental health issues, no one will treat them. It’s disgusting.”

Now, she wants to highlight how difficult the fight is, to try and raise awareness of the problem.

A spokesman for Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, the region’s mental health trust, said young people with conditions such as Robert’s would usually be treated by their multi-disciplinary Neuro-Developmental Disorders Team and could stay with that team up to the age of 26.

They added: “We take suicidal thoughts or behaviours expressed by children and young people very seriously.

“It is widely recognised that those suffering from neuro-developmental disorders can be at a higher risk of developing a mental illnesses, which is why we have the service has been developed to offer specialist support.

“Every young person coming into our trust’s Children, Families and Young People’s services receive a full, and holistic assessment of their mental health needs, taking into consideration their social situation, family history and school or work life.”

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