Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Seven days of action

"An Islington mother whose severely autistic son is being detained in a mental health facility more than 70 miles away hopes that a week-long campaign will finally bring him home."

"Leo Andrade, of Rixon Street, Holloway, can only afford to travel once a month to visit her 21-year-old son Stephen, who has been held in an assessment and treatment unit (ATU) in Colchester for the past 15 months after being sectioned."

"Stephen was transferred there from a higher security unit in Northampton where he was held for two years alongside alcoholics and drug addicts after Ms Andrade complained."

"But she claims her son’s condition has continued to deteriorate in the unit, where he is prone to self-harm due to anxiety..."

" `He could die if he stays there with the amount of drugs they give him.` "

"`He doesn’t have a mental illness but they pump him with anti-psychotic drugs because it’s easier than finding a way to care for someone with autism.`"

"On Monday Ms Andrade, along with a group of mothers and family members in the same situation, launched `Seven Days of Action`, a campaign to bring their children home. Every day this week, a blog by autism campaigner Mark Neary will feature a story from someone who has experienced life in an ATU."

"An NHS England spokesman said: `Every case is different and patients’ needs are often extremely complex, but we have been clear hospitals should not be seen as homes.`"

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