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Mental Health Hospitals Failing Parents

YoungMinds and the National Autistic Society are launching the Always campaign, which calls for the government to protect and enforce the rights of children in mental health hospitals.

Mental Health Hospitals Failing Parents

The campaign is based around The Always Charter, which sets out ten rights that young people in inpatient units and their families should always have.

Many parents feel angry and frustrated with the treatment their children are receiving in hospital. In the worst cases, young people can be trapped in inappropriate care for years, with their mental health deteriorating, while their parents desperately try to find a way to get them home. That’s why it’s crucial that young people and their families have clear and enforceable rights that put that young person’s needs at the centre of their care and treatment.
Sarah Brennan, Chief Executive, YoungMinds

Experience of Parents

A new survey by YoungMinds and the National Autistic Society, found that:

  • 44% of parents have felt unable to challenge decisions about their child’s treatment, while 52% do not know what rights their child has or they have while in hospital.
  • Only 43% of parents think that their child’s mental health has improved while in hospital. A quarter (24%) think that their child’s mental health has deteriorated a lot.
  • 44% couldn’t visit their child as often as they would have liked to because of the distance or travel time

Parents who responded to the survey told us: 

“My child has had a number of admissions to different units. The communication and support from these services has been very poor. I have felt guilty, judged, not listened to and belittled.”

“I did challenge some decisions but feel my views were still dismissed and I gave up. The majority of the experience in inpatient was a 'done to' rather than ‘with’ approach.”

“We were always asked - ‘Here's what we recommend. Do you agree?’ - as though it was our choice. But when we didn't agree, we were seen as obstructive. They said we had choice, but we didn't.”

“We needed a key contact that all questions about our daughter could be voiced through. Although she had a key worker, she was rarely at the unit or contactable.”

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