Parents reveal their heart-wrenching struggles to access NHS services, which have sometimes been too late to help their children

Our children and young people are facing mental health challenges on an unprecedented scale (Editorial, 6 November). Tragically, there seems to be little meaningful action being taken in response. My 17-year-old son died by suicide last year. We had spent over a year trying to secure adequate help for him – it never came. Even after his mental health disintegrated badly enough to lead to two suicide attempts, he languished on a waiting list.

The “talking therapy” that he eventually received was inadequate, the oversight of his case shambolic, and my repeated attempts to sound the alarm were recorded as the reactions of an anxious mother. Communication failures, dismissive attitudes, and “care” that was provided almost entirely by phone or online meant that no one took overall responsibility and no one got to know this struggling boy well enough to uncover his desperation. I now have to spend the rest of my life bearing his loss.

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