This is a letter of complaint that I’ve sent to CAMHS in response to the horrific treatment that Corey has received. Although this letter pertains to one particular assessment Corey’s “battle with CAMHS” has been raging on for years. This beautiful young man receives no regular help or support from services apart from useless assessments such as this one. He’s also undiagnosed and unmedicated. His mother has given me permission to share this chapter of his story with you all.
Dear Dr T,
REF: Corey, aged 10.
My name is Julia Daunt and I am a good friend of Corey’s mum, Louise, and I was also present at his assessment that took place on 23rd May 2014 at Great Ormond Street Hospital. I am writing to you with regards to the assessment letter that was sent to Dr. P and I wish now to go through the letter with you and highlight our complaints and issues therein.
Firstly in your opening paragraph you state that “Corey’s behaviour is not in-keeping with PDA or bi-polar” and that “Corey’s behaviour is related to his insecurities and anxieties”. I wish to point out that it is my belief that Corey is insecure and anxious because of an underlying condition, such as bi-polar. No child is as insecure or anxious as Corey without good reason and cause, a point that you have failed to note. I do not see how on earth you can completely rule out bi-polar, PDA or anything else for that matter after an assessment lasting only 1 hour. Corey is a very complex case and I believe that he needs to be assessed over a longer period of time in order that a clear picture is made. He struggles to open up and trust “doctors”, hence the need for a longer assessment time, so that his trust can gradually be earned.
Corey suffers from what I would call severe lability of mood. This happens both at home and at school. School have noted more and more instances of quick mood changes and self-harm. He is also now telling his teachers when he hears the voices at school, whereas before he kept it to himself for fear of not being believed or being mocked in some way. It is my belief that your colleague Dr. S misunderstood Corey during the 1:1 assessment. Corey has denied that he said “he knows that the voices aren’t real” and I can confirm that he has, on more than one occasion, told me that he is very scared and wants the voices to leave him alone. It is my belief that Corey doesn’t have the understanding needed to know that these voices aren’t real. To him they are very real and very upsetting. I wish to take issue with “He finds these thoughts repetitive and intrusive but not constant” – what exactly does this mean? Corey hears voices every day so what part of that isn’t constant? There is no set pattern to what will trigger the voices either, which is also another pointer to a psychiatric condition, such as bi-polar, rather than a child’s stress-coping mechanism. “Corey then feels guilty about having these”, this isn’t the case. Corey feels guilt over his behaviour but not over hearing voices. With all due respect Dr. S spent about 10 minutes with Corey so how can she have gained such an insight into Corey in such a short space of time, especially when she also reported that for some of the 1:1 assessment Corey wouldn’t speak to her. “Corey’s mother stated that he hadn’t had the voices for a while” – well that’s wrong for a start! What she said was that Corey hadn’t had the visual hallucinations for a while, she said nothing of the sort with regards to his auditory hallucinations and as I have said before these happen on a daily basis. “Corey does get low in mood and at various points appeared low but this is not pervasive” – I would like to know what you are basing this on? Corey has had problems from birth which has been getting worse and worse over time and his behaviour runs through every aspect of his day-to-day living, including school. What part of that isn’t pervasive? Like so many children with symptoms like Corey’s many are able to keep a lid on these behaviours when they are out of their comfort zone but as they get older this becomes an all but impossible task for them and the behaviours show themselves more and more in a variety of different situations. This is commonplace and does in no way mean that behaviours aren’t pervasive. “Corey has scratched his arms in response to these voices but does not have further suicidal ideation” – how can you be sure of this after 1 hour? The incident that you are referring to happened whilst he was at school, so yet more evidence that Corey’s behaviours are present at both home and school. I would also like to add that Corey has told me that he wishes he was dead and I believe him. He’s tried, and succeeded at times, to cut himself with anything sharp that he can lay his hands on and threatened to jump out of the top floor window. He has also put plastic bags over his head and tied things around his neck when he was alone in his room. Louise was only alerted to this by Corey’s older brother who thankfully and by accident just happened to notice. Yet more proof that Corey’s self-harm isn’t attention-seeking based. Corey is suicidal.
“His mother reported that Corey threatens to harm himself when wanting his needs met” – I would like to disagree with this statement too. You make a lot of reference to Corey threatening to harm himself when wanting his needs met which comes across like you are trying to say that Corey uses these threats as a conscious act in order to shock and worry his mother into giving him whatever it is that he has asked for, which is utter nonsense. I believe that Corey isn’t in control of the voices or the things that they tell him to do, like self-harming, and therefore it isn’t possible that uses them as a way of blackmailing his mum. Corey has also expressed relief and says it helps him after he has self-harmed, which again is another pointer that was missed.
Corey is a very intelligent young man and I don’t believe that his dislike for school or the work involved has anything to do with his ability to understand or complete the tasks expected of him but is more likely due to his problems. He feels isolated because he’s different. Other children don’t understand him. I’m getting a little concerned that you keep referring to the fact that Corey “smashes up his room when he doesn’t get his own way” like he chooses to do it so he can get his own way. This simply isn’t the case at all. I’ve seen firsthand what happens when Corey is in meltdown and I can assure you that this isn’t a case of just another attention-seeking brat. Yes Corey does swear at his mum but you’ve failed to mention that during the assessment he called Dr. P a “fucking idiot” and he also told one of you that you were “a fucking c*nt”. He also swore at me, the taxi driver and people on the coach. Why did you feel it prudent or helpful to only write that “it was noted during the interview that he swears at his mother” like his behaviour is only limited to her or somehow down to her. Maybe you should take a look back over your notes. I completely refute that “Corey lacks remorse”, Corey is full of remorse and pain for the things that he says and does and if you had spent anytime actually talking and getting to know him rather than just grilling Louise you would have seen that.
Just for the record Louise’s history, such as her mothers death, has absolutely nothing to do with Corey’s behaviours or means that her parenting is nothing short of brilliant. I have watched them both closely on my visits with them and all I see is a very loving mum trying to help her son who is quite literally begging for help. Please stop insinuating that Louise is somehow responsible for Corey’s problems or we will be forced to take this matter further. I would also like it noted that Corey sees his father regularly every other weekend, not intermittently as you’ve stated, and his father lives in Taunton not Bristol.
Corey struggled during the assessment and his behaviour deteriorated, in fact at one point he walked out with me following and I had to cuddle him so he could compose himself in order to rejoin the group. He also threw a piece of metal out of the window but yet you made no reference whatsoever to any of this in the report. Why? It’s more proof that his behaviour isn’t just limited to home as you seem to keep implying.
Louise spent 6 hours completing an online form prior to the assessment that you requested her to do but yet you failed to look at this before the assessment. Please can you explain the purpose of this? Was it just to waste her time? We travelled a long way, Louise spent over £200 traveling from Bristol to London which she cannot afford and most importantly Corey was subjected to added pressure and stress which he can well do without and all for what? So we can be fobbed off? I don’t think so. I would also like to add that a few days after the assessment Louise rang Dr. G with a question but he has yet to return her call or make any form of contact with her. Yet another failing for this family. How bad do things have to become before you act?
I am both horrified and disgusted at the way Corey has been treated throughout his dealings with CAMHS. It is my belief that this treatment is nothing short of a complete dereliction of your duty of care and this cannot continue. Corey needs to be fully assessed and, in my opinion, medicated. It is my belief that he has ADHD, bi-polar and OCD and I am not alone in this. He does not want to ever see Dr. P or PB ever again so you will have to refer his case to someone else I’m afraid. Corey is in a very delicate state at present and it will not do him any good to see people he neither likes or trusts as he will just shut down and become aggressive. You must refer him.
I think that you should write to Corey personally and explain why the help that we all told him he would get now isn’t coming. He has very little faith left in doctors and we cannot disappoint him again. Corey is next to be seen by CAMHS in October and not the weekly basis that was discussed during the assessment. This isn’t good enough! He needs intensive therapy and treatment. He is suicidal and his behaviours are becoming harder to manage. This is an urgent matter.
You have 10 working days from the date of this letter to reply otherwise we will be lodging a formal complaint.
So that is my letter. Corey has a special place in my heart. I think it’s because I can relate so much to what he is experiencing with the voices and the self-harm. I feel his pain and it breaks my heart to hear him say to me that he wishes he was dead knowing that he really means it. What is it with CAMHS? Can’t children be depressed or suicidal? There’s no minimum age for goodness sake! Mental health disorders are just like any other medical condition or illness – they know no limits or boundaries and can and do happen to anyone at anytime. Children are suffering and why? Budget cuts? Poor training? A doctors unwillingness to learn or write a damn prescription? Refusal to grow a pair and diagnose when others won’t? I don’t get it! It’s not just Corey’s childhood that is being lost here, it’s possibly his whole life. I will fight for Corey. I will fight for us all. Corey can not become just another headline and statistic………
Thank you for reading. ❤ Please share. X
we have been going through this my son for 6 years. The NHS do not know what to do with my son. We are constantly battling to keep him out of hospital because he’s been there before for 5 months and it nearly destroyed him. Matthew has high functioning autism, PDA and OCD. His condition will only allow his existence in his bedroom and en-suite bathroom. We have to do constant rituals and bring everything to him for him to stay stable and survive. Our lives are a living hell and they say no services exist. Our fight continues for the treatment he deserves.
This is so frustrating. Co mirnids are often difficult to diagnose as they income doctors print someone in several categories but surely the self harm and suicidal ideation alpine should warrant immediate attention. If Corey commits suicide or seriously harms himself under the care of these doctors, it’s them who will be held accountable at the inquiry not hours mother and they stand to be disciplined by the GMC as well as the BPS. So I’m rather confused by their reluctance to act.
Brilliant letter Julia, lets just hope that it gets Corey the help that he so desperately needs xxx
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Thank you Jane. I’m not giving up! X
Thank you bro! I love you so much x x x
Beautiful letter and I am proud of you. X
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