At the moment our lives are becoming increasingly
[hahahaha] complicated as LB has become very anxious and distressed. We’re in a big old hot pot, dealing with support and services underpinned [big fanfare] by the gov’s personalisation agenda. Key principles; Choice and autonomy.
Well this sounds like the baby. Choice and autonomy.. lovely, lovely, lovely. Let’s have a little looky at how this is shaping up eight weeks on;
Social Services. After a complete meltdown that resulted in LB out of school for a couple of weeks, the Care Manager acted instantly to organise a wedge of emergency direct payments for us to buy care. Good. We can choose what type of emergency support we want. Unfortunately, the kind of people who may be willing and able to hang out with a 6ft tall, young man who may, or may not become aggressive, are not that much in supply (and hugely in demand). So in practice, not so good. The alternative is the Respite Centre with the snooker table. Complete fail. CM also offered to organise a round table meeting. Good. And, after a particularly alarming incident (Episode A), has given me an emergency number to call. Good. Unfortunately, if we call that number we are opening a window for LB to potentially be sectioned. ‘Mmm. Well I’m sure they will do what’s best for him in that situation‘…I hear you think. Not really. ‘What’s best for him’ relies on what’s best for him being available. Not a mental health unit over a hundred miles away in Norwich where two of his class mates have spent months. There is no in-county support for young learning disabled people. That is a complete fail.
Health. The GP instantly prescribed anti-depressants over the phone without hesistation. Good (in the sense he took our concerns seriously, not that LB is now on more medication). After LB mumbled something about suicide near some professional type person, he was whizzled into a same day appointment with a psychiatrist. Good. (Well a bit weird that the concerns we have are largely ignored but one word gets instant attention). The psychiatrist asking LB if he felt suicidal was a complete fail. Never, ever put ideas into that boy’s head like that. She then, after a telephone appointment 6 weeks later, discharged him. Not so good. ‘Why are you discharging him?????’ I asked, seconds after I’d told her about Episode A. ‘He was referred to me because of the concern about suicide, now that is no longer a concern, the psychologist will help him to manage his anxiety.’ Not so good [and given our experience with psychologists over the years (star charts anyone?) suspect this detour will be a complete fail].
So what are we left with? Money to pay for care. No care to buy. And no one doing anything to help LB become less anxious.
Choice and autonomy? Feels a teeny bit flaky to me. Can we have some action?