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Suicidal Teen Whose Case Prompted Judge Sir James Munby To Warn Of 'Blood On Our Hands', Now Has Care Placement

He said her case left him feeling 'shame and embarrassment'.

04/08/2017 18:10 | Updated 04 August 2017

A suicidal teen, whose lack of care prompted a High Court judge to condemn the shortage of treatment for mentally unwell children, now has a “safe and appropriate” place to be treated.

Sir James Munby, the president of the court’s family division, warned on Thursday we would have “blood on our hands” if no care could be found for the 17-year-old when she was released from a secure unit.

He said he felt “shame and embarrassment” that he “can do no more” for the girl, who has repeatedly attempted suicide.

Judiciary
Sir James Munby said releasing the suicidal teen without a care placement could mean 'blood on our hands'

The only placement identified for her would not have space for her for six months.

Sir James ordered his judgment, which condemned the “disgraceful and utterly shaming lack of proper provision” of support for vulnerable young people, to be copied to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

On Friday, the day after the judgment made headlines, a spokesman for NHS North Region said a “safe and appropriate care setting” had been found.

Dr Mike Prentice, NHS medical director for the north of England, said: “Following extensive assessments, the NHS has identified a bed for this young woman in a safe and appropriate care setting which will best meet her needs.

“The bed will be available ahead of the release date.”

Labour MP Luciana Berger, who was shadow minister for mental health, had called it a “life and death situation” that reflected the lack of mental health care available.

She told the Press Association: “We would not be having this conversation if we were talking about physical health.

“This is a life and death situation here, this vulnerable young person is in a life-threatening situation and it should be treated as such.”

It comes as a BBC investigation revealed some mental health patients across the UK are waiting for years to be discharged.

Shadow mental health minister Barbara Keeley said the delays were a “scandal” and meant “other people who urgently need to access mental health services are not able to get the treatment they need”.

Sir James also copied his judgment to the Home Secretary Amber Rudd, Justice Secretary David Lidington and Education Secretary Justine Greening.

None of them commented on the case.

Useful websites and helplines:

Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 UK and ROI (this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill). Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393.

Get Connected is a free advice service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: help@getconnected.org.uk

HopeLine runs a confidential advice helpline if you are a young person at risk of suicide or are worried about a young person at risk of suicide. Mon-Fri 10-5pm and 7pm-10pm. Weekends 2pm-5pm on 0800 068 41 41.

Maytree is a sanctuary for the suicidal in north London in a non-medical setting. For help or to enquire about a stay, call 020 7263 7070.

Rape Crisis services for women and girls who have been raped or have experienced sexual violence - 0808 802 9999 Survivors UK offers support for men and boys - 0203 598 3898

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