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Last week was #ChildMentalHealthWeek, a week which aims to remove the stigma surrounding children’s mental health by creating more awareness.

However, child mental health appears to be neglected, demonstrated in the rise in inpatient suicides within them. A recent BBC report found that 16 young people have killed themselves under Children and Mental Health Services (CAMHS) care.

The report comes to light following the unfortunate death of Christie Harnett in June 2019, who was under the care of West Lane CAMHS unit in Middlesborough. Christie’s step-father reported that the hospital “decided to change the way they did observations” and “managers didn’t act on any of the complaints made”. He therefore believes that Christie would still be alive had she not been in that hospital, which has since been closed down after the Quality Care Commission rated it ‘inadequate’.

Jenny Wilkes, Head of Mental Inspection said that “people were not safe or being provided with care in line with their needs” whilst inpatients at West Lane. This coincides with a former inpatient reporting that staff would leave her hurting herself, despite observing what she was doing. Other issues included inadequate recordings of observations, poor knowledge of care for young people with complex needs and poor reporting of incidents. Furthermore, CQC also highlighted inadequacies in respect of managerial oversight. Since its closure, the NHS have commissioned an independent investigation into West Lane.

Deborah Coles, Director of Inquest said “too many young people are dying in mental health care” and referred to the fact that inquests have revealed patterns of failure and neglect.

At Ramsdens Solicitors, our experienced Clinical Negligence and Inquest team act for vulnerable parties who have been failed by mental health services that have breached their duty of care. We approach each case in a compassionate manner, paying close to attention to each individual’s needs.

For a confidential discussion, please contact our team on 0113 887 1834 or email Alternatively, you can make an enquiry using our online enquiry form and we will be in touch when it is convenient for you.