To report an on-line person to SS?(39 Posts)
I am a member of a health group on FB. The group is for a physical condition that is benign in 99% of people but tends to cause anxiety.
I am thinking about reporting one member to social services, and feel vindictive, I will try to explain. Said member has a teenage daughter and:
- Admits that she spends all her time in her bedroom, to the extent of having a bucket in it to go to the loo as she is scared to move incase condition x begins.
- Only leaves to take daughter to/from school, and doesn't interact with her outside of these times.
- Makes offers to pay people from the group to spend time with her.
- Keeps repeatedly having numerous tests despite all of them coming back benign.
- Medical professionals have offered to refer her to a psychiatrist, but she won't, as apparently, they have "missed" something.
- Doesn't wash, clean, or do anything household related.
I have genuine concern for her, and her daughter. I do not like taking on-line things off-line, but I've never seen anyone worried by this condition to this extent. Meanwhile, I've been told off for posting that her consultant was right, and people, quite frankly, are indulging her out of control hypochondria.
Can one help someone like this? I don't understand why the group would continue to encourage her to post the same thing over and over (as she has for a year) but discourage her from seeking actual help. I seem to be living in a parallel universe.
Would I be being vindictive? From my perspective, I see a child being neglected owing to major mental health issues which can be improved to some degree.
- Keeps posting pictures of her weight loss from refusing to eat. She's trying to lose weight so she can stay in hospital (presently down to eight stone having lost four) where Dr's can discover what is "really" wrong with her. So she WILL give herself a serious physical condition if she carries on.
- Sometimes sleeps in hospital car park.
- Only travels to a place within two minutes of a hospital.
I don't think that you'd be being unreasonable or vindictive. Perhaps speak to the NSPCC about it?
As for the group, people play different roles in such a situation. Some may be enablers.
If you did report your concerns it wouldn't be vindictive at all. She's not done anything to you which you are over reacting to.
However, firstly unless you have an address or at least phone number they won't be able to do anything. Ss has no power to get these things. Also if she is involved with that number of professionals and they know how she lives I expect that ss have been involved at some point and somewhere like school maybe monitoring it in the background.
Do you know enough about them to report them? How confident are you that they are telling the truth? I'd say the two biggest scenarios are;
1 - She likes the attention and support she gets from the group so 'worsens' her situation when in the group, which has built up to her saying she never leaves the room, that she's having lots of tests, that's she's refusing psychiatric help - all things that generally, will get a big supportive response. It's really common online - people even pretend they've died. Some people do it again and again in multiple forums.
2 - She has become a bit defined by a fake illness. Some people do. I had a foster mum who found a lump and when from doting on her foster kids and being really happy and healthy to being absolutely convinced that she had terminal cancer. Having a scan in Oncology meant she had cancer; having a headache meant it was spreading to her brain; she started rushing out of public places dramatically if someone sounded ill whilst shouting about a lowered immune system because of the chemo. She'd tell people that we hadn't been out that day because she was tired from treatment. I think initially she was talking through worries but then it became real to her and nobody could 'reach' her to convince her it wasn't true, despite her knowing on some level that she'd been told it wasn't cancer and she wasn't having chemo. She ended up housebound and not dressing or feeding us; we were moved on and she still seemed to be convinced she was seriously sick during letterbox contact for a few years - she told us one year that she was sure it'd be her last Christmas. Nobody needed to call SS for us - we were in a temporary home there so they visited often anyway - but I don't think they could have helped her anyway.
If you're concerned for her daughter and her story seems true, it's probably best to report her to SS, being as objective as possible, and letting them investigate if they need to be involved.
I don't want anything bad to happen to her, but it seems clear cut she needs off-line help that is beyond the remit of an on-line support group.
If I do speak to anyone, should I forewarn her?
It's all blown up on the group today after I pointed out she hasn't dropped down dead from x yet despite having had it for a year. I have exactly the same thing, and this level of anxiety is alien to me. Moreover, if my nearest and dearest were becoming affected, I would feel especially obliged to seek non-medical help.
I'll investigate the NSPCC website (maybe they can help by e-mail as I can't phone).
1. Obviously, I don't know if she is making some of it up: something that may hint at this is her evasiveness when asked for specific details. For example, she ignores posts that ask how many times she experiences x per day (as a general rule, Dr's won't treat unless it's occurring thousands of times a day in most otherwise healthy people), and sidesteps any talk of seeking psychological help - she's blocked me for explaining how CBT helped me and that anxious people are often the last people capable of rationally evaluating things.
2. How awful for you. This is the sort of neglect I mean. She's going to give her daughter issues, if she hasn't already.
I know her real name and the village she lives in, so I guess an actual address would be easy to find.
She posts about seeing her G.P a lot, but apparently claims to pretend things are improving as she's worried about social services intervening. The hospital consultant is, on the face of it, someone who wouldn't have anything to do with SS, but I suppose they would if issues became apparent.
She also says that she pretends to be o.k when her partner is at home (apparently he's in the house one day a week and works away so doesn't see her in her room all the time).
I do think there are enablers in the group. I find it worrying that no-one is thinking about her daughter and keeps encouraging her to have yet more tests. It's not something that goes from being benign to malign: it either is, or isn't, and unless you have something else going on, it's a perfectly ordinary occurrence.
I think she needs help, regardless of whether this condition is a physical thing, or a health anxiety one (which is a real illness and needs treating as such) because the way she's living isn't healthy, for her or her child. so, you definitely aren't wrong to get some outside agency involved.
That's exactly what I mean GF.
The dilemma becomes, do I let her know, or just do it? I have never taken an on-line thing off-line before, but if she what she says is true, then her daughter is being harmed.
Is there a charity linked to the condition you could either contact for advice or point her in the direction of?
I think as you have genuine concerns then reporting it would be reasonable
She sounds like she has a major mental health problem that may or may not be linked to the other illness you mention. I imagine the mental illness pre-existed the physical.
Hate to 'armchair diagnose' but sounds like a personality disorder. Do you know if she is known to mental health services? I would have thought she is.
In that case it sounds like you have enough information. You may need to send screenshots to ss when you report.
No charity for this condition as it's regarded as a variation of normal absent any other known issues.
I do feel guilty that I lost the plot with her a bit today. Must be a virtual compassion fatigue. Beyond that though, there is clearly someone who needs an off-line intervention, and I'm appalled that I'm the only one who seems to have noticed this.
She's blocked me (for not encouraging her), so I can't get screenshots now. Though could join to get them from my alternative FB account, I suppose.
She says she's not "mentally ill but has a real condition", and disguises the extent of her problems so no-one alerts the authorities. Yet she's posting increasingly alarming information on the group on an almost daily basis.
She claims to have been fine before x started. In fact, if you took a random person off this thread, they would have x several times a day too. That's how benign and common it is.
I don't see how she could be traced from an online chat room? How could you report her without personal details?
You say the daughter is a teenager? If she is over 18, she will be classed as an adult. If she's at school, you could flag it up if you know the school name?
It's an FB group, she uses her real name, and her location is visible. She also posts details about the village she lives in.
She says the daughter is early teens, 11 or 12 I think. I don't know the school name.
There is an online reporting form in the nspcc website. A name and village should be plenty to identify the children.
Whoops, sorry I see you have her details.
I wouldn't inform her you want to report. She doesn't sound mentally stable.
Contact SS and tell them. Keep it to the facts. So state what she has said. Her asking people she does not know to spend time with her DD, is itself a red flag as it makes her DD very vulnerable.
She may say she was fine before this and doesn't have mental health problems but she does if what you have put is accurate.
She's probably well-known to mental health services if she is as you describe. Particularly if she keeps seeking professional opinions.
Is there anyone in the group you trust to ask them to get some screen shots?
Yes, the latest one was offering to pay any of us to travel with her on a plane last week as she was worried x would start-up. Then when they got there, she wouldn't move from within two minutes of a hospital: how was that a holiday for her daughter?
I think I will use the NSPCC reporting form and keep quiet. That's been a great help, thanks.
I think that's the best move. It could all be attention seeking nonsense from an online troll but you can't really sit back and do nothing. I think you've made the right decision.
I don't see how she could get away with pretending to be OK when her partner is at home, because surely her daughter would tell him at least some of what is going on. Does she claim that he knows absolutely nothing about this? Why couldn't he go with her on her journey last week?
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