I’ll lose my mental health care when I turn 18. Why? – BBC Stories

I’ll lose my mental health care when I turn 18. Why? – BBC Stories

Hi, I’m Tom. I’ve been receiving help for my mental struggles for the last four or five years
Major depressive and panic disorders…
I’ve been getting better under the child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS).
But now I’ve been told that my treatment will stop.
And it’s all because I’m about to turn 18.
In the UK, that’s when child care ends,
and adult care should begin.
But the problem is that many young people get lost in the gap
even if they need more care
and I’ve been told I won’t be transferred to adult services unless I get much, much worse.
So I’m ill enough for one system.
But apparently not the other.
People are left feeling neglected
or abandoned.
I’m Jackie Doyle Price, I’m the minister for mental health and suicide prevention.
Honestly I just think she’s really out of touch…
The idea that my treatment just ends
the morning I turn 18
doesn’t make any sense to me.
It’s been five months since I’ve been very close
to ending my life…
As a mum, when you know that your child has wanted to, or thought about, ending their life
you just never sleep properly again.
Come August, he will turn 18 and then
if he relapses and is bad,
there’s no continuity, he can’t go back to any of the people that he’s been dealing with
up until that point…
Do you want some tissue?
I’m OK…
I’ve come to London to talk to Prof Swaran Singh to find out about
transitions between child care and
adult care for mental health.
We think about 50% of young people who are receiving care from child services
and who need ongoing care,
simply fall off the cliff edge
and that 50% figure is surprisingly consistent.
It’s a very, very big problem
and it’s a shocking figure.
Why don’t you think that’s the case?
Look, everyone doesn’t need a transition.
Our aim is not to keep people permanently in services. People get better.
But child and adult services,
they operate very differently,
they have very different criteria
they have a very different threshold of who they consider ill enough.
So young people who are receiving care can hit a brick wall, you know?
Suddenly nothing is available.
So what we’ve been trying to do is somehow get the two services to work together
so those young people who need a transition of care make this smooth journey.
The promise is there. Without a doubt the government has committed to investment
but we have not seen change on the ground.
The rhetoric simply does not match the reality.
It’s been lovely meeting you, good luck.
Inside those buildings over there
is where all the decisions about how our country is run are made.
And this is one of the first times there’s been
such a concrete, tactile implication for me
and my future.
So I’m Jackie Doyle Price, I’m the minister for mental health and suicide prevention.
We recognise that actually for young people as they’re growing up
there is not suddenly this cliff edge where they suddenly go from child to adult
it’s much more complex than that.
So we’ll be making more services available, treating young people right up until they’re 25
so that we don’t have that cliff-edge transition that some people experience at the moment.
This brings me on to Thomas’ second question.
What are you planning to do for people like him who will turn 18 in a few months’ time?
He’s not going to get referred to adult care.
Someone like Thomas really should have a care plan as part of his treatment
so that we are properly managing him
through a process…
you know clearly, if he is anxious about it,
then that is something we would expect services to work with him on.
I don’t know where Thomas lives,
but we’re very clear
that we expect we expect all areas to treat young people up to the age of 25
because we see that in some areas they have been using 18 as a cut-off, others haven’t
and we’ve seen better care for those that have actually already started
treating people up to the age of 25.
So where is it in place then now?
And if they can do it elsewhere, then why aren’t they doing it in Surrey?
Honestly I just think she’s really out of touch.
Just give me a minute…
You OK?
Yeah I’m fine.
Let’s just carry on.
I’ve spoken to some clinicians who work in CAMHS and say
you can be treated in CAMHS for one thing
but then your criteria needs to be a lot more severe to then need help in adult care
so it does seem to be that
there is a slightly different model that operates within adult services.
I don’t actually accept that.
Access to care is based on clinical need
and obviously that will be the 
judgement of individual clinicians.
To be frank, if anything we’ve had less access to CAMHS services than we have adult,
so I would expect Thomas to find 
it much easier to access care
as an adult than he would as a child.
I don’t want to speak because I’m not…
No I can’t stop thinking of expletives so…
Can we stop for a bit?
I feel exasperated.
Yeah I feel a bit deflated actually…
The model of treating people once they are in crisis is broken… it doesn’t work.
And what a waste of money.
Why aren’t they doing things to help people before they get to crisis point?
All I can hope for in the next couple of months is to stay mostly stable.
I need to remain calm for the next two months, simply because
I’m not sure anything concrete is going to change in that time.
I’m pleased for the young people coming after Thomas who will get the right care
because they are obviously trying
to put things right
and I totally understand that
they can’t just say,
“Right we are going to do this,”
and it happens immediately.
I don’t think I’ve ever taken the time to thank you enough for everything you’ve done for me.
I think that you’ve been not only instrumental but vital for me staying here.
And I’m really glad that you were because, I kind of like the spot that I’m in at the moment.
So thank you.
Love you.
You too.
Love you darling
I’d do it all again.
Let’s hope you don’t have to.


  • raindropsnroses

    im about to have my last child service appointment next week, ive literally had panic attacks about it bc i don’t want to grow up and its ridiculous that i can suddenly become an adult overnight and be left without any care

  • Rainy Dayz

    My friends son had a breakdown and was sadly sectioned at the age of 13 he had constant care he was even put through a special college for people with the same issues. As soon as he turned 18 they put him back into the community even though it was very clear he should still be getting treatment. He is a wonderful young man but has many issues, he constantly begged for help even asking to be sectioned again but no one helped he was desperate so in the end he went and robbed a shop just so he could get arrested and hopefully the police would help him … he was eventually sectioned again but is now back in the real world again, still suffering the same issues. It’s terribly sad.

    I worked with underage homeless people and families for 21 years. As soon as these kids hit 18 y/o they were put in bed and breakfasts with no real aftercare , some were even given their weeks worth of medicine in one go as their care workers couldn’t be bothered to come and dish it out daily, the amount of overdoses and drug issues and crime that come from these careless actions are so high.

    I wish you luck on your journey .. I pray that things stay stable for you, your mum seems like a wonderful woman, a real earth angel …

    I’m so sorry that the system is letting you down sweetheart 🙏🏽 🌟

  • Lilith Scyther

    Omg, I was so lost at 18. Our mental health system in Canada is shit too. I'm not sick enough for therapy (4 year waiting list) but, I can get 4 drug prescriptions in one go. Enough to kill myself 10 times over. How do you think I almost died so many times?? I'm suicidal and you give me ammunition??? The psychiatry profession almost killed me. Mix it with alcohol and voila! I stopped accepting prescription drugs for over a decade, I didn't realize how much worse they were making me. Good luck overseas! 🍀😚

  • Bike!Bike!

    Play the system. Fake a suicide get benefits or why don't you guys just do what we did over here and make it mandatory to cover children up to 26?

  • Linda sparks

    I don't know about there, but here they get these kids hooked on this shi!, starting in kindergarten! If they don't sit still in class theres something wrong with them, their not allowed to be normal kids! So now they've put them on this crap, an then their just going to jerk them off!!? Great idea? Just like closing all of the hospital's for people with mental illness an turning them lose on the streets are throwing them in prison? I don't think half these young people would have a problem if they would have not been subjected to these hel! holes! They call schools an all the shi!, they have to put with from their classmates an their so called teacher's!! The drugs are very bad for kids, they do alot damage to their bodys an most that stays on these for long periods die early!?

  • Nick Skidmore

    Such a wise and charming lad. Wishing you and your mum the best for your future Thomas, I’ve been there, it’s horrible, but if you and your mum can stay strong together then I hope you have love and happiness 👍🏼

  • Averil Stratford

    I am absolutely terrified about turning 18. The area I live in is notorious for turning many people away from cahms and those who do get in have to wait months and months to get into the system, many of which deteriorate rapidly and are often admitted to hospital for suicide attempts. I fought so hard to get into the system and the fact that I will be turfed out the day I turn 18 and be left with no support apart from GPs who are not properly trained to deal with mental health issues ( & often trivialise them and overprescribe as it’s the only way they feel they can help) is really distressing. The system is inherently flawed as it forces people to get worse before they have any chance of getting better. I know lots of people, including myself, that have self harmed – not because they feel they want to, but because that way they know there will be a greater chance of them receiving any kind of help. The referral system, waiting times, set criteria and age 18 cut off point causes more harm than it does good. Change is desperately needed but I doubt that any will actually happen, at least not while I’m still being treated.

  • Rory on a Bike

    Nice job by the people who made this short. I’d like to know the outcome. Surprised if the Minister’s staff didn’t intervene. Thomas is articulate and has a nice manner. He should think about trying his hand at films himself.

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