I’m Gordon and I was sixteen years old when I was first suicidal. I had moved from England to Scotland to have a better life after being discharged from a Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) inpatient unit in Lancashire.
Upon my discharge, I moved to Scotland where I had my first appointment with CAMHS and I informed them I had hallucinations, paranoia and insomnia on a daily basis. They decided that I would not benefit from an appointment with a psychiatrist and discharged me with a plan to speak to the local college I was attending.
I was unhappy with this and made several complaints to try and get treatment but was unsuccessful. I eventually dropped out of college as I couldn’t maintain a good sleep pattern to allow me to function in that environment, and despite multiple health appointments with CAMHS following this, they continued to say that I didn’t require their services and it was a social issue.
This led to me suffering for another twelve months and I eventually tried to kill myself. After my attempt, I finally saw a psychiatrist instead of a mental health nurse, and it was decided I would be accepted for adult mental health services and received a prescription to help my sleep. I saw a consultant psychiatrist following this appointment where he recognised the fight I went through to get support and started me on a course of anti-psychotic medication to treat my hallucinations and paranoia, which worked well. After a few weeks, I decided that I was in a better place to restart my life and submitted my final complaint against the NHS, which received a lot of attention from politicians and resulted in my case being mentioned on First Minister’s Questions twice. I also had intervention from the Mental Welfare Commission and the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman upheld my complaint that the treatment I received from CAMHS was unacceptable.
I was pleased with all of this intervention and assistance and can’t thank the people enough that believed in me, and helped me to raise awareness of the barriers in accessing children’s mental health services, especially Willie Rennie MSP and Neil Findlay MSP. I eventually managed to complete my first qualification in preparation for health & social care in college and this led to me going to Romania too. I did all of this because I was in the right frame of mind to finally restart my life. Four years on, I am now doing my social work degree at Glasgow Caledonian University. I continue to specialise as a mental health advocate helping other families access mental health services too and making sure they get a voice. But this is only possible because I got the treatment I needed, without it, I might have gone down a dark path or not been around at all and this is why early intervention is absolutely essential.
The following services offer confidential support from trained staff and volunteers. You can talk about anything that is troubling you, no matter how difficult:
- Call 116 123 to talk to Samaritans, or email email@example.com. Samaritans are there to listen 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and it’s always free to call from any landline or mobile phone.
- Call 111 to talk to NHS 24’s mental health hub.
- Call 0800 83 85 87 to talk to Breathing Space. The service is open 24 hours at weekends (6pm Friday — 6am Monday) and 6pm to 2am on weekdays (Monday — Thursday). The Breathing Space webchat is an alternative to phoning the service.
- Text “SHOUT” to 85258 to contact the Shout Crisis Text Line, text “YM” if you are under 19.