Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child is unwell. If you need professional help, please see our mental health webguide
My son and the police(7 Posts)
My 16 year old son has Asperger syndrome and mental health difficulties. The mental health difficulties (primarily anxiety and OCD type intrusive thoughts) have been getting worse lately and are almost certainly connected to a period of tension in the family (due to Child Protection issues and separation) and our very recent house move.
Last week two of my son's support workers invited him to communicate with them via e-mail. I think this invitation came because my son will not meet them face to face at the moment and communicates through notes passed under his bedroom door. However, in his e-mails he told the support staff of his distress and that he was worried that he might sexually assault someone (this is part of his OCD). The support workers alerted their managers and the managers felt duty bound to alert the police. The police came on Friday and my son told the officer in charge (via notes) about his diary which contained a 'plan' to carry out the assault. My son has written 'plans' before and they relate to the detail of his thoughts not his intentions.
The officer read out the entry in my son's diary as if it was the work of a serial killer. She had not the power to section my son but she contacted CAMHS, who told her they were already treating my son and that he will not act on these thoughts. The officer, however, insisted that a doctor came to my house to assess my son with a view to compulsory admission to hospital.
My son locked himself in the toilet and remained there for seven hours until the doctor came. I managed to gain access three or four times and checked on him and he was very distressed. He thought he had done something terribly wrong. Eventually the doctor came and my son agreed to go into hospital under threat of section. He was absolutely terrified and physically sick. he had to be sedated and taken to the hospital under police escort in an ambulance.
The next day, i visited him and he was still distressed about the incident, so I asked if I could take him home. This was readily agreed by the CAMHS team who know my son well. They said, my son posed no threat to anyone but himself and they knew I would look after him well.
Now I am angry and confused. I would welcome any opinions about how my son has been treated. If people think agencies have acted in my son's best interest, then perhaps I will be able to accept their actions a little better.
The professionals who know your son best didn't seem to agree with the actions of the police officer. I think i would be inclined to submit a complaint about her handling of the incident. I hope your son is feeling better now he is home.
Thank you Bunique.
i have submitted a complaint to the police. My son is happier now, but very very tired.
I just typed you a long answer and it disappeared! Since you've asked for opinions I'd say the police weren't in the wrong here. They were obvioulsy right to contact CAMHS but I can also understand them wanting an on the spot assessment by a doctor in case anything had changed since your son saw CAMHS last or just as a second opinion. Was the doctor a psychiatrist? Was there any reasons he didn't follow the advice of the CAMHS team who knew you son? I'd say the dr's decision was the one I'd query but then again, if he wasn't a psychiatrist I can understand him wanting your son to be hospitalised - it's a pity someone who knows him from CAMHS couldn't have come out. Anyway, that's just my thoughts. Sounds as if you and your son have had a horrible experience. Hope it doesn't put him off telling people things. Glad you have him back home. He's lucky to have you fighting his corner.
I'm so sorry and I know that you are all going through hell, but I don't think the police were in the wrong. They have a duty of care to your son and other people. Whilst I fully accept what you're saying about it only being a record of his thoughts, the police would have had to have another opinion.
Thank you for your replies. I have spoken to members of the CAMHS team who know my son, including his psychologist who had seen him two days before the incident and the Consultant Psychiatrist who has known my son for two years. They offered the police officer their advice and opinion, but felt she could 'only see one solution'. I have also spoken to my son who said the Sergeant kept pushing notes under his door saying, 'Do you want to go into hospital?' and, after hours of saying 'No', he felt the only way to stop the notes was to say 'Yes'. I know this is irrelevant and I have not mentioned it in my complaint, but I had no confidence in the police officer's understanding of my son's condition and when I asked her, informally, what experience she had with respect to working with people with autism and mental health difficulties, she said she was a teaching assistant in a special school before she joined the police force. I realise she may have much more training and experience than this, but I did not think she was in a position to disregard the advice of a consultant psychiatrist who has worked with my son and our family for years.
I am angry and very upset because my son was in such great distress.
I'm sorry but I think CAMHS is very much in the wrong.
I hope for everyone's sakes that they are right, especially if your DS is discharged.
However if camhs are wrong it's the police that will be dealing with the end result. Which is also the reason why the police might be the ones taking the stronger line.
You have to recognise that he has not only written a detailed plan he has expressed concern in writing that he might carry it out. If you and CAMHS are right he spends a bit of time in hospital, he walks out with a clean slate. If you and CAMHS are wrong and he does carry out his plan he will be locked up for a very long time.
I am sorry he is distressed. But I also think for the time being he is very much in the right place.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.