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'Three suicide attempts and 27 months on a waiting list': Brave 15-year-old shares her mental ill health struggle

PUBLISHED: 16:22 26 March 2019 | UPDATED: 17:49 26 March 2019

Members from the Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk delivered a petition to a meeting of the governing body of NHS North Norfolk's clinical commissioning group (CCG) in Aylsham on Tuesday, March 26. Photo: Jessica Frank-Keyes

Members from the Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk delivered a petition to a meeting of the governing body of NHS North Norfolk's clinical commissioning group (CCG) in Aylsham on Tuesday, March 26. Photo: Jessica Frank-Keyes

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"In five years I have had three suicide attempts, a hip full of scars and 27 months on a waiting list."

Members from the Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk delivered a petition to a meeting of the governing body of NHS North Norfolk's clinical commissioning group (CCG) in Aylsham on Tuesday, March 26. Photo: Jessica Frank-KeyesMembers from the Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk delivered a petition to a meeting of the governing body of NHS North Norfolk's clinical commissioning group (CCG) in Aylsham on Tuesday, March 26. Photo: Jessica Frank-Keyes

These were the words of a 15-year-old girl who confronted bosses about mental health services in north Norfolk at a meeting packed with campaigners and the public.

The girl, who did not wish to be identified, read a poem about her struggles with mental health at the meeting which saw governors of NHS North Norfolk’s clinical commissioning group (CCG) presented with a petition to restore services to the area.

She told the board members: “Some time and effort needs to be put into mental health.

“There’s going to come a time when there are no more of us willing to fight for what we need.

North Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group chairman Anoop DhesiNorth Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group chairman Anoop Dhesi

“This is a massive issue now and some serious thought needs to be put into it.”

CCG chairman Dr Anoop Dhesi said: “That was extraordinarily brave of you. We should all reflect on what you have said.”

READ MORE: Is ‘remote, awful and inhumane’ mental health support in north Norfolk behind a spate of young men’s deaths?

And Frank Sims, chief officer of North and South Norfolk CCGs, added: “The mental health service across Norfolk and Waveney is subject to a new strategy which has come before the governing body a number of times over the last few months. It will come back to us in April in a final form.”

Frank Sims has been made chief officer of North and South Norfolk CCG. Picture: NHS North Norfolk Clinical Commissioning GroupFrank Sims has been made chief officer of North and South Norfolk CCG. Picture: NHS North Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group

The board met at the Aylsham Care Trust centre, for two hours on Tuesday, March 26, and the organisation, which commissions some mental health services in the area, was presented with the petition by members of the Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk.

The petition, which campaigner Martin Booth said had garnered over 400 signatures, called on the CCG to provide a emergency psychiatric walk-in clinic in Cromer - sparked by concerns over a number of suicides of young men in the town last year.

The petition states: “We express our concern about the rise in suicides and especially the recent high number in Cromer alone.

“We demand the restoration of mental health services based in north Norfolk and especially the creation of a walk-in emergency psychiatric NHS clinic, ideally based in Cromer.”

Mr Sims said members of the public had been closely consulted on the new strategy and said: “Better local access particularly in terms of crisis, sits right at the heart of that.

“We’re investing more time and more money into mental health services.”

READ MORE: Campaigners launch new mental health charity at Cromer football club

Wellbeing Norfolk and Waveney (and Wellbeing Suffolk), can be accessed via 0300 123 1503 or www.wellbeingnands.co.uk

The free Samaritans helpline can be accessed by calling 116 123 from anywhere in the UK.

A Memorial to Secondary School

In seven weeks I will reached the beginning of the end. I will have slayed the dragon.

The end of five years, the end of all I have known.

In approximately five years, I have found one true friend and found three that are not so kind.

In five years I have had three suicide attempts, a hip full of scars and 27 months on a waiting list.

In five years I have revived As and A*s, PTSD and one fist fight.

In five years I have lost and found myself, written exactly 79 poems and spent exactly five years wishing for silence.

In five years I have travelled to Greece, Germany, Dublin, France and Bordeaux. Smashed five mugs, two plates, a bowl, two glasses and three walls.

In five years I have spent over 400 hours in the shower and stuck one tub of ice cream to the ceiling.

In five years I have been a victim but called a perpetrator. Have had over 15 police officers in my house and spent more than 40 hours at a police station.

In five years I have met the most wonderful woman, I have realised I live with the most wonderful woman and I am slowly becoming a wonderful woman.

In five years I have worn three uniforms and burned two.

I have grown 78cms. Finished 40 textbooks and 30 books; developed a fear for tartan scarves and tracksuits.

In five years I have been to 11 festivals, three gigs and spent five nights filled with love and vodka.

In five years I have said I Love You thousands of times and only meant it nine times.

In five years I have learned to cook pasta and how homeostasis works.

In five years I have tried two sleeping tablets and been on antidepressants for roughly one year.

In five years I have cried more times than I’d like to admit but less than I needed to, I have savoured smiles for more than I should have.

For five years I have blamed myself and grieved for someone I had lost, a part of myself I had lost.

For five years I have wondered why? Craved acceptance and acknowledgement.

In five years I have grown, for better or for worse.

Questions asked about eating disorder service and ambulance call outs

Health bosses were quizzed on integrated care, the eating disorder service and support for ambulance workers on mental health calls.

Mental health campaigner Terry Skyrme asked about the delivery of integrated care, a partnership of the CCG, the county council, the community healthcare trust and the mental health trust.

GP Dr James Gair said: “Every practice now has a multidisciplinary meeting.

“There are mental health care issues but that relates to the failing of our trust.”

Issues with the county’s eating disorder service were raised in chief quality officer Alison Leather’s report, with the prime concerns being staffing and recruitment, and senior managers undertaking “a service model review”.

And ambulance service volunteer David Russell asked the board to support call staff handling mental health calls.

Chief operating officer Mark Burgis said funds were raised for this last year but he would follow up with a “better answer” after the meeting.

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