SANE is backing Sally Burke’s campaign – Get Maisie Home – to reinstate 24/7 care for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in Kingston upon Hull.
When Sally's daughter Maisie was just twelve years old, she was found self harming and attempting to take her own life. In order for Maisie to receive the support that she needed, she was sent 130 miles away from her home to a mental health residential facility in Stafford. Intervention from MP Alan Johnson helped secure Maisie a place in Sheffield, but this was still 60 miles away from her home. After three months undergoing evaluation and therapy, Maisie was diagnosed with Autism.
In early December 2014, Maisie was once again in crisis and was sent to another children's mental health residential facility in Sheffield. She stayed there for four months but had to be transferred to a more secure unit in Bury (92 miles) as she escaped the unit on four separate occasions, trying to get home.
Being so far away from home is damaging Maisie's recovery and it is an extremely difficult time for her family. The cost of travelling to and from Sheffield means Sally cannot visit her daughter every day, despite still managing to visit four times a week.
Sadly, Sally's and Maisie's story is not unique, and many children in the Hull area have been forced to travel out of the city to receive care since it was announced in 2013 that the West End unit would no longer be taking residential patients.
The Get Maisie Home campaign aims to raise awareness of how vulnerable children and their families are being affected by closures of NHS mental health units, as well as call for the reinstatement of 24/7 care for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in Kingston upon Hull.
Sally has so far collected over 22,000 signatures for the petition addressed to the Department of Health and NHS England.
Speaking about why SANE are supporting this campaign, Marjorie Wallace said:
“It is shocking that a girl as young as Maisie should have to be placed in a unit so far away from her home just to receive the support and treatment that she needs. No child should be separated from their family, especially when they are in crisis.
“Maisie is one of many victims of the government’s uncompromising agenda to reduce psychiatric beds and encourage the closure of units. If a safe place for people in crisis and long-term need is not provided locally, more families will be put under intolerable strain and patients will become even more neglected.”
"SANE endorsing our campaign is a fabulous opportunity for our story to be heard on a national level. I hope that together we can continue to raise the profile of children's mental health and the problems sadly being encountered by far too many families all over the UK."
• Sign the petition to reinstate 24/7 care for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in Kingston upon Hull.
• Become a SANE media volunteer and share your experience of travelling for inpatient care
• Complete the #EggChallenge. Sign the petition, video yourself having an egg cracked on your head and nominate three friends to do the same!
Here is former Hull City striker Dean Windass taking on the challenge!
Maisie's story has reached local and national press. Here is a selection of recent articles:
BBC Online: Child mental health: A mother's struggle
For media enquiries please contact SANE's media team on 020 3805 1790 or firstname.lastname@example.org