Student says breakdown in mental health care led to severe depressive episodes
PUBLISHED: 12:52 24 June 2020 | UPDATED: 12:53 24 June 2020
A law student has said breakdowns in communication over her mental health care left her stressed and experiencing severe depressive episodes.
Ruby Blyth-Smith, who is blind and requires support for severe bipolar disorder, has spoken out over concerns relating to her care from the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT).
The 25-year-old, who lives in Ipswich, has been sent for treatment out of area three times, two of which she said she believed could have been avoidable with the right support in place.
She said further communication issues in the last month have occurred trying to transfer her care from the youth mental health team in Norwich to the integrated delivery team (IDT) in Ipswich, and she has now been told the team will not be able to take on any new referrals during the pandemic.
The trust has apologised to University of East Anglia student Miss Blyth-Smith, saying it is committed to improving the service by recruiting new staff and youth ambassadors.
Miss Blyth-Smith, who wishes to become a barrister, she said was worried about the future of her mental health support.
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She said: “Despite my disability and mental health issues I pride myself on being able to lead an active, fulfilling life.
“With that being said, I am only able to lead the fulfilling life I deserve with the right support package in place - provided by NSFT youth mental health services. I have received below the minimum adequate level of support now for numerous years with the youth team.
“I have experienced suicide attempts, severe depressive episodes and suicidal ideation all brought upon by stress, many times, including this one, as a result of having to chase up the care I am entitled to.”
She also urged the trust to provide more carers’ support to people like her partner who have been her support network when she has not been able to speak to anyone.
Nicki Bramford, service director for Norfolk children’s family and young people at the trust, apologised and said the trust is trying to build “greater connections” with young people in Norfolk and Waveney.
She said: “We know we have to make more improvements in this service as quickly as possible, and we are committed to doing that.
“Our next steps are to make sure we have a place where people can share their experiences so that people have the most appropriate mental health services for them.”
Since April two new services have been launched by the trust including Kooth, which provides an online counselling service, and First Response, a 24/7 helpline set up to support all ages.
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