Project Invictus

As part of our campaign for an Adolescent Mental Health Unit in Cornwall – Project Invictus, we are asking for your comments. The e-petition is now closed and gained 2,296 signatures. Thank you all!

The Foundation Trust in Cornwall have now agreed to put in a bid for a £5m specialist adolescent mental health unit aimed at 13 to 25 year olds. They have told us it is because of Ben’s case and the work of The Invictus Trust. We are delighted with this change of heart and now ask for your support.

We are also asking for you to leave your comments on this blog. Please tell us why you support Project Invictus. Do you have personal experience of mental health care in Cornwall or do you know someone you has?  It is anonymous but if you wish to email us at invictustrust@hotmail.co.uk then we are looking for stories that could be published in the West Briton, as part of the campaign. Be aware that all comments are moderated and so wont appear immediately.

Thank you.

54 replies
  1. steve
    steve says:

    I believe that if there had been an appropriate Adolescent Mental Health Unit in Cornwall, suitable to the needs of adolescents then my son’s life may have been saved, as he may have received the support he was asking for.

    If we can succeed with this project others may be more fortunate.

  2. Anon
    Anon says:

    A compassionate, evidence based service for young people seeking help and support is required. A service that meets the needs of our future generation must do what it says on the tin and not just pay lip service to our community.

  3. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Great to see someone trying to do something about this – all power to you. I have been in Longreach as a 20 year old and it has a culture of management and no-one expects you to get better and so you dont! There is a complete lack of facilties for anyone under 55. I hope I dont ever have to go back.

  4. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Fully support this – I know someone who has mental health problems and there simply isnt sufficient support in Cornwall. Please help !

  5. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    I have had experience of cornwall’s mental health facilities whilst in the age bracket you are aiming to help and it was sheer hell, the staff seem to do just what they have to to get by and appear to not care less whether you get better or not. The staff, the surroundings and the facilities make you feel inadequate as a human being because of your illness and stamp all fight out of you, resulting in you succumbing to the ‘way of life’ in the system and making you accept that you will always be in it, just barely surviving, being given the minimal resources to ‘just get by’ and filling you with so many different drugs because ‘they say it’s best’, and if you argue, they give you more because ‘it’s the illnes talking.’ It takes away all your autonomy as a person and pushes you deeper into that black hole which is so painful and hurts physically! You feel alone, neglected & abandoned and Cornwall is DESPERATELY in need of this facility, to bring a new, fresh and positive approach to young people who are experiencing this awful illness for the first time! Kepp fighting on behalf of everyone who is or has suffered at the hands of these current ‘institutions!’ I will be routing for the invictus trust and think your work is amazing and your son would be proud!

  6. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    The NHS is currently failing many young, vulnerable people in Cornwall. Care for the mentally ill shouldn’t be in a stressful, segregated, unsuitable environment, which I believe my brother was subjected to last year. In order for a complete recovery, patients must essentially feel safe, secure and comfortable, and be treated in a holistic manner. I believe this unit will provide more suitable care, which is tailored to an adolescent needs.
    Patients will feel more comfortable in the presence of respective peers, and will receive all the support necessary, ensuring a safe, therapeutic environment, promoting recovery.

    This is an issue that must be addressed, which is why I wholly support this project.

  7. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    I agree, it is a necessity in Cornwall. No teenager should feel unable to live another day especially after they have gone through the emotional stress of actually seeking help. Longreach/Bodmin are not teenage friendly, and as a 20 year old myself I do not feel I would feel safe or secure in an adult hospital like that. Their are not appropriate resources and staff aren’t ‘youth’ trained, I think for someone with mental health issues it all seems so out of touch and unreachable. Instead of focusing on getting better and back to life on the outside you get consumed with everyone else’s illnesses and being sectioned for the way you react not for your safety and recovery. This needs to change… GO INVICTUS!

  8. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Imagine my situation – I was depressed and scared. I was sectioned. I was medicated. I was with people I didnt know and a situation I didnt understand. And then. They sent me hundreds of miles from Cornwall and my family and friends. I saw no-one. I was isolated. I was ill.

    You wouldnt treat a prisoner like this. Or a dog.

    This is a no-brainer.

    OF COURSE ITS ABSOLUTELY NEEDED.

  9. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    I have been working in a supporting or counselling role with young people for many years now & have come across many “black holes” when it has come to this age group. By this I refer to a total lack of provision where children’s Services begin & adult services end. Adolescence is a transitional time and brings with it unique needs & challenges. I have lost count of the times a young person hasn’t accessed mental health provision because there are such limited options tailored to their needs. That is not to say there aren’t good workers in Cornwall, I have come across many, it is just too thinly spread. There needs to be a service of highly trained & experienced staff to meet the mental health needs of our cornish young people. I support Invictis trust wholeheartedly & admire the hard work they are doing for this cause.

    Cathy Derry, Counsellor

  10. Anon
    Anon says:

    What evidence based risk assessment does every clinician in the CFT currently use and trained to use when they are assessing the treatment and care of someone at risk of suicide?

    By evidence I mean, NICE Guidelines?, research?, WHO approved?, Government backed?

    How do the CFT propose to manage and treat risk in a new unit?

  11. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    I fully support the commissioning & building of this unit in Cornwall… mental health in teenagers is a HUGE issue all around the country, but has been consistently high for many years in Cornwall. Part of the problem is that we have a lack of facilities for teenagers who are struggling with these issues. My brother was admitted to Longreach hospital aged 18, where he was quickly sucked into a world of adult mental health care. Not only was it highly unsuitable for him, but he was surrounded by much much older people with mental health problems and was treated the same as them- I didn’t feel like they were ever actively trying to make him better. Simple things like talking therapies, alternative therapies and pyschologists weren’t offered, when medication and pyschiatrists were – and when asked why, we were told that the NHS in Cornwall simply didn’t have a psychologist available. This is NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Teenagers should be in an uplifiting, positive environment that is well equipped and only for young people, and treated by specialists who understand mental health in young people and are actively seeking the recovery of their patients. This would make an incredible change to mental health are in Cornwall, and to the health of our Cornish teenagers, and hopefully prevent the tragic loss of yet another young person to suicide. It is an illness the same as any other, its outcome is as tragic and devastating as any other, and it should be better treated. Come on Invictus Trust, we need to make this happen!

  12. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    I was diagnosed with an eating disorder at 15, at which point I had a 3 man team assigned specifically to me for as long as they deemed it was needed. A psychologist, a clinical nurse and a nutritionist. I began to come through the other side with the help of the care team that was in place, by the time I was 17 I was only seeing the nurse & nutritionist on a three monthly basis and the psychologist once a month. I began to believe that there was an end to the hell that I had been living in and started to feel more positive about my life and being healthy enough to maybe go away to university. On the lead up to my 18th birthday it was mentioned to me that my appointments would be coming to an end. By this point I had built up a trusting relationship with my psychologist and I truly believe that if it weren’t for him I would not be here writing this today. So at 18 I was a semi-recovered anorexic with no help whatsoever. My case was never put to the adult team, it seemed that I needed a fresh diagnosis for them to ‘take me on’. From this point I began going backwards again; I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression shortly after, I was prescribed a load of meds that were supposed to take the edge off but my doctor had nobody to make the referral to. I also developed bulimia at this time and because the system was so lacking I managed to keep it under wraps for nearly 18 months. Needless to say I never did make it to university. This i’m sure is common to a lot of other teenagers in my position. Thankfully now, at 21, I am well on the road to recovery thanks to a lot of grit and determination. I have applied to the Open University and will start my psychology degree in October. I am also currently in the process of applying for a training position within the mental health sector. It baffled me that at 18 years old there was nobody. There were help groups for my parents when I was ill but nowhere for me to go and talk to other people in my position, it’s like nobody takes mental illness in young people seriously. They assume that it’s just a phase, some kind of rebellion and that it’ll be grown out of. I whole heartedly agree that Cornwall is in desperate need of an adolescent mental health unit where teenagers and young adults are cared for in an appropriate way and taken seriously by people that want to help rather than pen pushers chasing statistics. I have therefore made it my goal to get to a position whereby I can help as many people as possible.

  13. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    This is essential. Teenagers whoever they are wherever they are should be treated fairly and allowed access to the services and support,,, especially when they are in a unit specific to mental health care. It is disgraceful we are not able to care for these people as human beings. We live in the 21st century in the developed world and still have people uncared for wanting to end their lives, it is disgusting. It is time someone made a difference so adolescents can access age appropriate care and support in a positive environment.

    Let’s push for this.. For those who are perhaps unable to voice their opinions, or tonight are in long reach or bodmin longing for someone to hear them and make a difference on their behalf. Invictus Trust you can do this!

  14. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    it seems a no brainer that young people who are struggling alone with mental health issues may be more willing to try and get help if the facilities are available for them, where they can feel safe rather than a burden.

  15. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    The idea of a young persons unit is a fantastic idea.

    I’m saddened reading comments though about staff at the two hospitals. As one of them staff, and a young person myself I do feel that some comments are a little harsh towards those staff members that are compassionate n caring. Don’t forget, we too are working with a limited resource when it comes to working with this age group, meaning our facilities.

    Young persons mental health care is a grey area across the uk not just cornwall. There are limited, if any provisions for young people country wide. It has been suggested many a time that there should be seperate units for those aged between 17-25, that would allow social inclusion, education in respect of mental health as well as schooling, specialist psychologists and social inclusion workers, social workers and ots.

    Most nurses come in to a system that binds them to policies/ structures that are set in place that we too disagree with. When a young person gets admitted it is disheartening as nurse to see a system that fails to recognise that just because a person is 18- it doesn’t make them an adult worthy of being placed in units providing care for people who have been unwell for years.

    Invictus is doing an amazing job. This will not only change the lives of young people in cornwall but the whole of the uk, it will set an example to the rest of the world that making steps/provisions early on in someone’s mental health care can prevent future admissions.

    I’m relation to what the Cft use as guidance, they follow all guidance in relation to NICE, etc for suicidal behaviours. There is also a lot of training now available. I also want to highlight that sadly, no matter what guidance/policies/training you provide you cannot save everyone- which as a nurse myself and as well as having close friends take their lives (one at 16, and found another whom was23 plus a few more young people whom I have known in my local area prior to nursingn) – I learnt the hard way.
    I was so distressed after the latter (23yt old) I wrote to my local mp, and the then nhs mp, as I knew that had there been better facilities, they may have been able to have better support.

    Mental health nursing is a specialist job, it requires a great deal of empathy, compassion and an most staff have that extra something that u need to be able to work with such vulnerable people. But people must remember, as the government reduce money, staff etc its a stretched job!!

    Invictus, Steve, Sophia, amber and the others are a sad, yet heart warming example of what life is about. It’s about providing, caring and fighting for something you truly believe in. They have shown great restraint and dignity in an incredibly sad situation and have gone beyond what most feel Is an impossible achievement, especially at a time of great loss.

    I’m proud to be a nurse, I’m proud to work in cornwall. I’m even prouder that the Cft are now working along side invictus to push this forward. I look forward to following the development of this, and one day, supporting young people in a facility so worthy.

    Thank you invictus for what continues to be an amazing trust you have created, in memory of Ben.

  16. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Woah this blog is wonderful i like reading your articles. Keep up the great work! You already know, lots of people are looking round for this information, you can aid them greatly.

  17. steve
    steve says:

    1000 signatures on the e-petition in less than 2 weeks….incredible…..thank you all for your amazing support.

  18. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Please, please support, would be such an incredible investment – so worth it.

    I have suffered with severe mental health issues in the past and some of the treatment I received in Cornwall was disgusting – I believe this unit would save many, many lives and give young people the support that they really need and deserve, to better theirs and their loved ones’ lives.

    Amy-lea (Twiggy Von Lea)

  19. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    I wish there had been an adolescent mental health unit in Cornwall when I was growing up there.

    By the time I was 17 I had tried to attempt suicide twice, been self harming since 13, had an abusive boyfriend and regularly used drugs. Yet no one ever referred me to a mental health team and I can never remember a health professional trying to speak to me about why I hurt myself in the ways I did. My college offered me counselling as they thought it would help to improve my attendance but it wasn’t there responsibility to try and sort out my chaotic life.

    When I moved away I was referred to the mental health team in Dorset and I saw a psychiatrist, psychologist and the intensive therapy team for almost three years. Now I’m a graduate with a job I love and am have been medication free for six months. The support I received from the mental health services in Dorset were invaluable but I wish I’d received it when I was younger and lived in Cornwall so I didn’t have to live with making so many mistakes before I got better.

  20. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    I am so utterly thrilled to hear about this progress. Your determination
    and persitance is quite remarkable and an inspiration to me; and I know
    to so many others. Thank you.

  21. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    ‘‘I am encouraged by the progress that is being made towards the establishment of an Adolescence Mental Health Unit for Cornwall. The Cornwall Foundation Trust deserves credit for taking on board the compelling case made by the Invictus Trust that young people facing mental health issues need better care within Cornwall.

    ‘‘ It is good to see the Foundation Trust highlighting the issue of teenage mental health and working with other NHS organisations to find the land and resources to develop a Cornish Adolescence Mental Health Unit. I will continue to work closely with all partners as this progress continues, and will do all I can to help ensure that this much needed resource is built.’’

    Sarah Newton MP

  22. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    ,”There is a very powerful case for a dedicated adolescent mental health unit in Cornwall and I am very pleased to see that the Cornwall Foundation Trust are working with other groups like the Invictus Trust to start putting together a business case and to progress a plan for this important facility.

    “Teenagers suffering from mental health conditions have specific needs and are especially vulnerable and i think that having a dedicated unit could really contribute to their recovery.”

    George Eustice MP
    Member of Parliament for Camborne, Redruth and Hayle

  23. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Thank you for starting this and may I ask you not to stop until it is built – how can there actually be a question as to whether it is needed?

    Is it just me or is it not obvious that we desperately need this service and that its a travesty we dont already have it?

  24. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    To Phil Confue, CEO NHS PArtnership Trust

    I am writing in my capacity as Director of Studies at Truro & Penwith College and as a governor of the Trust, in support of Invictus Trust.

    I would like to start by paying tribute to the many dedicated healthcare professionals in Cornwall who already work with young people suffering mental health issues; they have provided expert and timely advice whenever there has been a need to contact them on behalf of one of our students.

    Nevertheless, the prospect of a multimillion pound, purpose-built unit to meet the needs of young people experiencing depression, anxiety and the range of other conditions relating to mental health is truly exciting. Sadly, the number of such young people appears to be constantly increasing and it is evident that demand far exceeds availability of support and treatment. For this reason, the proposed Adolescent Mental Health Unit will be invaluable in supporting vulnerable youngsters and enabling them to achieve stability and fulfil their potential. Any additional help it might provide, for example in undertaking outreach work in schools and colleges could only be a bonus.

    I look forward to hearing of developments in the near future and am delighted that the Partnership Trust is supporting this.

    Yours faithfully

    Cheryl Mewton
    Director of Studies
    Truro and Penwith College

  25. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    As a semi retired mental health nurse I heartily agree that we in Cornwall desperately need such a specialist unit. The present system is not conducive to young people as so many of the wards are over populated and understaffed. The nursing teams are tied to old ways of working and budget restraints and burn out !
    Many of these wards are predominantly looking after the same revolving door people and you just get ground down by this as your just firefighting not providing any therapeutic and ongoing support. I have close friends working in the community teams specifically in early intervention, but they are overwhelmed by the fact that there are simply not enough staff on the ground to cope with the demand and subsequently they too get depressed and overloaded and disillusioned with the system ! And nobody seems to be listening to their concerns !!!!!

  26. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Anon
    I have known of someone all my life who would have had a much easier life had she been diagnosed when young with Mental Health problems. Mental Health issues can be so distructive to those who suffer and for those who love them the most. There should be much more awareness of diagnosing and helping young people.

  27. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    I wholeheartedly agree that Cornwall needs it’s own unit for young people. As the mother of two teenagers, who’s father has recently died, i hope that help will be there should they need it. I hope that help will be there for all young people who need it.

  28. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    I fully agree that the young people of Cornwall need a unit for support. this will also help familes affected too.

  29. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    As a mental health sufferer (of about 25 years) I know that such facilities are needed in Cornwall and for those at a young age, as they can desperately need it. If this was available for me, I really don’t think I would have struggled so much through my adult life. If left to manifest, it can fatal and life changing for all of those involved. Life is confusing and hard enough for young people, but for those who have trouble with thier mental health and wellbeing, it can be a very isolating time and extremely difficult. Getting the right support at the right time is crucial and young people can feel hesitant in getting that support through fear of being stigmatised, so the correct support within mental health settings is important in improving their wellbeing.

  30. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    My brother died aged twenty one, having been in and out of a variety of mental health care units in Cornwall, Somerset and elsewhere.

    I visited him in most of these, and each time I walked through the door of one, I thought, “this is not a place set up to get people better.” Each one was a desolate, distressing place to enter and each one did not need to be.

    The time for the NHS to address properly the state of mental health care in this country is long overdue. And I miss my brother.

    Regards
    Ivor Middleton

  31. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    We write offering our support to Project Invictus and to commend Cornwall Partnership Trust for its innovative thinking in committing to take this exciting development further.

    As a college we come into contact with many of the county’s young people and our counselling service supports a good number as they go through their academic studies. Many of the issues common to adults (depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, eating disorders et al) are also experienced during adolescence when lack of control over physical, social and physiological changes can increase stress.

    We have excellent relationships with the many healthcare professionals throughout Cornwall who already work with young people suffering mental health issues and acknowledge the excellent work they do, often under extreme pressure on their resources. The prospect of a purpose-built dedicated Adolescent Mental Health Unit to complement existing services can only be celebrated.

    Adolescents have unique needs which are not always catered for within adult services. It is our experience that many young people, who have to move from CAMHS to adult services when they reach 18 years, find the transition very difficult. We are also aware there is a lack of local accommodation for young people taken into residential care under the mental health act; having a specialist unit to support and extend provision for this age group is an exciting prospect and one which we would welcome wholeheartedly.

    Cornwall College will be following developments keenly as it continues to support Project Invictus and the Partnership Trust as they work towards making this new unit a reality.

    Dawn Hastings
    Corpoorate Counselling Manager

    Peter Sampson
    Corporate Head of Student Services
    Cornwall College Corporation

  32. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Our daughter, Ellie, has suffered from psychosis and suicidal thoughts for the last two years. She is a beautiful, clever, funny and creative young woman and it breaks our hearts to see what this awful illness is doing to her.

    We have had fantastic support from the Truro CAMHS team, but when she has had to be admitted for inpatient care, there is never a bed at Plymouth and she has been admitted in Bridgewater. Wessex House is fine, but it is a four hour round trip for us, making daily visiting impossible – something Ellie really wanted – and meaning that weekend home leave is costing us £100 a week just in fuel to collect and return her to bridgewater. We both have well paid full-time jobs and this is killing us – goodness knows how others cope. It must destroy families.

    With repeated admission and discharge, it is impossible to maintain continuity of treatment across such wide distances. Having to repeat her story to professional after professional is very distressing , the trust she needs to make the counselling relationship work is impossible to build.

    We understand that we are ‘lucky’ not to have been referred even further afield. During the last admission to Wessex House there were 4 young people from Truro there – surely there is a case for a unit in Cornwall!

    Now i hear rumours that Wessex House is shortly to close – is this true? The consultant psychiatrist at Truro retired this week and i understand that nothing has yet been done about getting a replacement. What is going on? Government cuts gone mad? We must campaign for a unit in Cornwall – keep at it Invicta! What can i do to help?

  33. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    hi there, my son who is nearly 13yrs, recently diagnosed with anxiety disorder and depression has been out of school for several months . so far my son has been subject to lots of questioning from professionals but no-one has offered him any form of help or support ? i have only recently become aware of the invictus trust and reading through some of the information has given me hope. maggie.

  34. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Maggie (comment above) and invictus

    Please keep hope- without hope there is nothing.

    As a nurse- a mental health one who actively follows invictus- I get thru my long days at work having hope

    A simple word with such meaning.

    If we don’t have hope- how can our patients.

    Every time I read this page I’m totally over whelmed by how much strength, cottage and commitment not only invictus ‘ family show but each person sharing their story.

    I am yet to wake up for work wishing I didn’t have to go in- its charities like these and stories placed on this site that strengthen my need to help/ push the nhs towards change, a challenge that will never fade.
    I look forward to the day I can apply for a job in this unit!!!

    Lisa

  35. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Truro City Council

    The City Council fully supports the aims and objectives of the Trust and wishes it success with the project to build the mental health unit.

    Roger Gazzard
    Town Clerk
    on behalf of Truro City Council

  36. steve
    steve says:

    I have just seen Spotlight and heard about the Invictus Trust.

    Firstly, I would like to say how very sorry I am to hear about Ben’s tragic death and send my heartfelt condolences to all his family. Secondly, as the parent of a young man, just turned 18, who has been suffering various severe and totally disabling mental health problems for ten years, I understand only too well the lack of appropriate care for young people in the south-west.

    My son has been in adolescent units in London for much of the last 5 years and recently moved to one in Gloucestershire – which was the only place in the country we found that would take over 18’s but also provide education on site. Despite missing years of school my son is taking 4 A levels but we have had to fight every step of the way to get him in an environment that allows him to complete his school education whilst addressing his mental health issues.

    We live in Devon and are constantly being threatened by the local team, was CAMHS but now Adult Services, with local treatment – which has in the past consisted of being left on children’s wards with no therapeutic input or the possibility of adult wards. We have just had a battle involving our MP and a solicitor to keep him in Gloucestershire and not be moved to an adult psychiatric unit nearer to home. It is a terrifying prospect and, I know, we will have to fight this again next year when he is 19 and has completed his A levels.

    On being seen by national experts in London, it appears to be common knowledge that Devon and Cornwall is failing it’s young patients. The local service is in a constant state of flux with promises of great improvement that never materialise. Meanwhile our children are sent hundreds of miles from home – if they are lucky and have parents who can fight hard for the treatment they deserve.

    I am so very sorry that the system failed your family so appallingly and wish you every success in your struggle to get a young people’s unit in Cornwall.

  37. steve
    steve says:

    We have recently experienced the “system” in Cornwall and it is appalling! We are talking under age 13. Help was desperately needed and although in the system it was definitely evident that every department was struggling to cope. Appointments changed/cancelled professionals not attending for one reason or other. Our relative is now 250miles from home and hopefully now getting some help. To visit and keep a good family bond is of utmost importance but a vital job has had to go by the wayside and expenses are horrific. A most important review is due in the next couple of weeks and already three key professionals have stated that they cannot attend, this is a child’s life and if they were in a regular children’s hospital or local facility professionals would be available as they would be in the vicinity.

  38. steve
    steve says:

    I simply had to e mail you after hearing your story on BBC SW. I don’t live in Cornwall I live in Plymouth but I had as much difficulty getting help for my anxious, self harming, deeply depressed teenager. I was staggered and frustrated at the lack of help or even interest in the younger age group. There was no-one and nowhere to go. No one seemed to care or want to help, I cant really put into the written word the fear and helplessness we both felt.

    I wish you very great success in your venture – I am lucky my son is well on his way to recovery but I am acutely aware of my good fortune.

  39. steve
    steve says:

    This poem was added by the father of a young man who took his own life immediately after leaving Longreach :

    Tinder Sticks

    A dinner waits in the oven, dry as tinder sticks.
    You hadn’t come home for tea, at the normal time of six.
    I gave you a few calls, but only a ringing tone,
    And no reply to my message, asking when would you be home.

    Were you on the track, that runs around the bay,
    Set out rather late, forgot the time of day?
    Where was your note, saying you’d be late for tea?
    With the pills they gave you, always in dream.

    As the dusk began to cloak, I drove the waterside,
    I’d hoped to see you walking, homeward, in your stride.
    But only swooping gulls, and joggers caught my eye,
    All oblivious in their flight, to the angst I held inside.

    At about half past nine, the doorbell rang at last,
    Thought you were back, no questions would I ask.
    I’d welcome you with my smile, check you were OK,
    Set you up with another meal, and chat about your day.

    But, it was not you.

    Men in suits instead, came inside and we sat down.
    Asked to talk to me, about an incident in the town.
    Young male took his life, his ID, they were not sure,
    But my heart died, when they described the shoes he wore.

    Since that fateful tolling, served by tinny chimes,
    Our world just keeps on spinning, with no regard for time.
    Grimly we hang on, for what else can we do?
    Searching for those demons, that leave us missing you.

  40. steve
    steve says:

    Hi. I have just seen your piece on the BBC news about the chance of getting an adolescent unit built in Cornwall. I completely agree with you that sending vulnerable young people to any adult unit to me is the last place they should be and will only prove to worsen their condition in many cases especially as the ratio of care workers to patients is not what I feel it should be. However… I have a 21 year old who was only finally diagnosed with Bipolar (along with other symptoms) when she was admitted to Mount Gould Hospital Adolescent unit and I must say that they were a cracking team there who were amazing and I couldnt speak more highly of them. It was a scary place for Sarah to be amongst other youngsters with problems but she was among people near her age and they looked after her very well. If there hadnt been a place there she would have had to go to gloucester!!! how would a lone parent of 3 at that time be able to manage visits so far? I was amazed that Cornwall didnt have its own facility to serve our young people. I admire your strength in a situation that must have been very traumatic for you all, and I hope that your cause goes from strength to strength. Young people with mental health issues need a voice .

  41. steve
    steve says:

    As a Youth and Children’s Outreach Worker, working with young and vulnerable people here in Cornwall on a daily basis, I understand the urgent need and support the work of The Invictus trust! Keep going and know you are being cheered on

  42. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Plymouth Herald Oct 17 2013

    DOZENS of mental health patients from Plymouth have been sent hundreds of miles outside the city because there are no places available closer to home.

    Health commissioners the Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NEW Devon CCG) has authorised £7 million to be spent every year sending 43 patients away – although no new patients have been sent outside the city for the past 18 months.

    The figures were revealed in a report as one of the country’s top psychiatrists says the mental health service in England is in crisis. Dr Martin Baggaley, medical director of the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, spoke out after revealing the situation in Plymouth is mirrored across the country.

    He said: “I think currently the system is inefficient, unsafe. We’re certainly feeling it on the front line, it’s very pressured, and we spend a lot of our time struggling to find beds, sending people across the country which is really not what I want to do.”
    The report relating to Plymouth was written by Dr Simon Duffy who said the spending doesn’t make financial sense.

    His report states that average cost of each of the 43 placements is £168,000 annually. Dr Duffy points out that for £168,000, you could afford to “rent a luxurious flat and pay for one-to-one support at the rate of £18 per hour, for 24 waking hours, for 365 days per year”.
    The report, called Returning Home, was commissioned by NEW Devon CCG.

    The report opens, stating: “NEW Devon CCG have begun a project of national importance to bring back disabled people and people with mental health needs from institutional services, often far from Plymouth, and help them return home.”

  43. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Sorry I was unable to attend the meeting today. You have my total support in your campaign and it is vital that this unit is opened in Cornwall. I wish you every success and your fantastic work is appreciated by us all.

  44. steve
    steve says:

    I wanted to share my experience of the lack of mental health services for young people in Cornwall. I am writing this while my 15 year old daughter is in Treliske hospital (unfortunately not the place for a young person with mental health issues and an eating disorder).

    My daughter started to experience mental health issues at the age of 11 with self harming and thoughts which she expressed of harming her brother, she had been very low in mood for a while. This was our first contact with CAMHS, initially she would not go to the meetings and they came to the house however as she would not engage we had this meeting and was discharged. Things did not really improve very much and over the next few years her mental health continued to deteriorate with self harm, suicidal thoughts we were again referred to CAMHS then discharged again as she would not engage. By the age of 14 she started to develop an eating disorder and became unwell due to limited nutrition we were referred back to CAMHS and she engaged little initially however she as become frustrated with the limited help that she feels she is receiving, she is now struggling to attend school and is a very intelligent girl. She feels that inpatient treatment is what she requires and we visited Plym Bridge house in Plymouth for an assessment. She has been added to there waiting list however as this is only a 12 bedded unit for the whole of the southwest and as the child psychologist at CAMHS stated to her during our last meeting a few weeks ago that she has treated young people who self harm worse than her and they do not get a place at Plym Bridge house. As you can imagine this left her feeling her illness is not worthy of a place and I believe is partly due to her recent admission as she started to restrict food and became unwell.

    We are desperately in need of a mental health unit in Cornwall. I fear everyday that my beautiful little girl will leave me as she expresses she feels tired of living and 4 years further down the road nothing has improved with the medication and current treatment she is receiving, the support from CAMHS is not working and an inpatient placement in the right place I feel is now needed and there does not seem to be one.

  45. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    I have stayed in Longreach House but survived. As a young person it is simply NOT the right place to stay, everyone else is so old and so ill. Please build an age-appropriate place for young people to be cared for in Cornwall and help us get better. How can it be right to be sent so far away from home when you are young or put in a place with old people when you are too old for CAHMS.

  46. A Counsellor
    A Counsellor says:

    I am a Person-Centred Counsellor/Supervisor and I used to teach Counselling at Cornwall College. I have twenty year old boy/girl twins and my son has had mental health issues, which culminated in him being Sectioned for the first time when he was just 17, and then again before their eighteenth birthdays….both times he was sent out of county, firstly to Norfolk, and then to Woking. He was transferred from Woking to Longreach days after his 18th birthday. I still cannot gauge the additional damage that he was caused by being sent so far away from home (and being held in a police cell whilst awating assesment, and beds being found!!). To say that this is an archaic and cruel way to treat an unwell child is an understatement in my mind. His third section was when he was 18, and this time he was sent to Bodmin Hospital, and had to be kept in the Intensive Care Ward for nine weeks as he was so poorly, and then was moved to the acute ward, and then down to Longreach. In all of his post-18 hospitilisations, he has by far been the youngest patient, and I believe the environments were whollly inappropriate (for all incidentally, let alone a young person)

  47. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    We’re in Cornwall, currently having to leave our daughter alone in a Unit in Bournemouth!! This seriously limits how we can support her and be with her . It’s so tiring having to drive 16hrs plus per wk just to see her. The stress of this is exhausting enough without the distance! We would accept this for a physical illness . Why is it ok because it’s mental health?

  48. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    One of my best friends is currently sectioned in Bodmin Hospital. He turned 25 this year and is really struggling. I feel if something like this would have happened sooner, he may not be in the position he is today. Keep up the good work Invictus – what you’re asking for is exactly what this county has needed all along.

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