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Bullied 12-year-old struggled to get mental health support before suicide, inquest hears

The mother of a bullied 12-year-old girl has said her daughter struggled to get mental health support on the NHS in the months before she killed herself, and accused her school of failing to deal with inappropriate messages circulating among pupils.

The mother of Charley-Ann Patterson, Jamie, told a hearing that despite being seen by three medical professionals, Charley-Ann had been unable to get mental health support in the months before her death.

In a statement read at an inquest at Northumberland coroner’s court on 12 October, Jamie said her daughter had changed halfway through her first year of secondary school, when she was sent “inappropriate” and “shocking” messages by other pupils.

The inquest heard that Jamie first took her daughter to a GP over self-harm concerns in June 2019, but she said she “did not believe that the GP took Charley-Ann’s self-harm seriously, potentially due to her age”.

She took Charley-Ann to A&E in May 2020 after a second episode of self-harm, where she was referred to a psychiatric team and given a telephone appointment in which she was told Charley-Ann would be referred to child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), but that “it was likely that she would not be seen for three years”.

In an appointment with a nurse she was told that she would be referred to the Northumberland mental health hub for low mood and anxiety, but later learned “that this referral was never made”.

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Source: The Guardian, 12 October 2022


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