I started this campaign after the loss of my son, Matthew, aged 20. Although Matthew died in 2012 and I have been fighting to uncover the truth of the circumstances that led to his death since that day, my battle started a number of years earlier.
I knew my son was poorly and the struggle to get help for him was huge. It’s now 10 years plus, since I was calling a crisis line asking for help.
Help that was just not there….not unless a bed was available, or unless I had called before 5pm so medical records could be accessed. So many hurdles put in our way.
In the final year of my sons life, five mental health assessments were completed…each time knowing that Matthew was in crisis, each time being told he did not meet the criteria for an inpatient stay. Each time being told there were no beds available.
It’s now 2021 and the situation, you would think, would be vastly improved.
Since my son died so many more lives have been lost. Lots of inquests have happened. Multiple serious incident reports. Multiple Coroners prevention of future death reports.
So much learning from each death to be had. Ten years of deaths, ten years of expected learning….of course the system will have improved?
Sadly this is far from the case.
Evidence comes to me everyday. Families calling for advice, families begging for help that is just not there. Patients calling to report abuse. Patients calling as they are desperate and don’t know what to do…. the psychiatrist is discharging them, yet they are highly suicidal.
I have learnt sadly that many of the general public believe that if a person is suicidal they can be sectioned and offered help in a psychiatric ward.
The reality is that if suicidal, patients are not being admitted, not being referred for any talking therapies …simply given a few phone numbers …so they can have a chat.
Many, many if deemed a risk as an inpatient are being discharged into the community and quickly discharged from the community team, to remove responsibility from services should death ensue.
A recording of a psychiatrist sent in a while back , ‘ you are suicidal, it’s not a mental illness. You have capacity to decide whether you kill yourself or not…you are being discharged.’
The patient knew they would not be safe if sent back into the home environment, but the doctor would not listen. And the patient was discharged, with no after care and sadly took their life just weeks later.
I can see it now. The government is going to blame all the suicides happening, on covid. Obviously that is a factor, but even before covid, the system was failing our most vulnerable.
With all what’s going on due to Covid other important issues are being hidden.
There are thousands of kids still stuck in assessment centres, miles from home. Being held in solitary. Being kept apart from family.
Their crime? None whatsoever.
They may have autism, learning difficulties, pda, sensory issues. They may have been sexually abused.
What do they all need?
What do any of us need?
Simple = LOVE.❤️
Kindness, compassion and understanding.
My experience and evidence that comes to my door everyday of the week is that LOVE is the furthest thing away from any of the patients within the mental health system.
Families are gaslighted, patients are gaslighted…so as to break down the family support and give control over to the services.
Trauma and expression is being too readily controlled by enforced medication. Abuse is rife.
Many are pinned down and medicine is forced upon them in the most humiliating and painful way.
I really would like to say something positive about a system that is meant to help, but I can’t find anything positive at this time.
A friend sent me some quotes today and spoke of unity.
I have been on this path to TRUTH over eight years now. I was fighting just for Matthew, then I met another mum. The fight changed to justice for Matt and Ben, then I met another, then another, then another….I met families across the nation, across the world.
I learnt of mental health, of autism, of learning disabled, of downs, of SEND. The lists continues each and everyday.
I have met many of you all fighting individual battles to try to force change. I have picked up the divide between campaigners…oh my thing is autism, not mental health.. my thing is mental health not learning difficulties…this I find so very very sad….as sadly we are all fighting the same devil….a failing mental health system.
Ultimately we all want our kids/ loved ones to be safe, to be cared for and to get better if poorly…not to die like mine and many others have.
I am reaching out to each of you to consider the fact ….how powerful would we all be if we combined our efforts?
If all the autism groups, send, mental health, dementia, ld, ptsd, Aspergers, B12, anything that comes under this failing mental health system – UNITED FOR CHANGE.
Not a thousand little dents being made in the pan, but one big drum roll .
I want to leave you with that thought and if any one reading this wants to join and support this mums campaign ….. Justice for Matthew Leahy failed by the state on Facebook or Justice for Matthew Leahy (@melanieleahy) on Twitter , then please do, I welcome you with open arms.
If you yourself have a campaign then please invite me and let’s combine our forces.
I leave this video…it inspired me today to write this short piece.
God Bless x