Mental health reforms are ‘crucial’ so there are ‘no more Charleys’

PUBLISHED: 08:00 20 January 2017

Charley Marks. Photo by Jo Clement.

Charley Marks. Photo by Jo Clement.

Archant

The mother of a Somerset teenager who took his own life after struggling with mental health issues has spoken out about planned Government mental health reforms, which she says are needed ‘right now’.

Charley Marks was 18 years old when he committed suicide back in 2014 and was visited by community psychiatric nurses just hours before his death.

His mother Jo Clement has since set up the charity In Charley’s Memory, which aims to raise awareness and support young people who are battling mental issues.

Ms Clement told the Mercury: “Charley was failed with his care so we need to ensure these failings don’t happen again so that there are no more Charleys.

“There needs to be shorter waiting lists for counselling and talking therapies. There needs to be more relevant units for young people who need to stay to receive the right help so that they aren’t homed with other vulnerable who are much older than them.

“We need to be educating our young people about mental health. They also need to know it is alright to talk and feel they are taken seriously when they ask for help.”

Prime Minister Theresa May plans to ‘transform’ attitudes to mental health. The focus of this Government plan is on young people, after it was revealed more than half of mental health problems start at just 14 years old.

Mrs May has outlined major changes, which include the introduction of mental health first aid training for every secondary school, a £15million investment in community care and a promise that by 2021, no child will be sent out of their local area for mental health treatment.

Ms Clement said she is ‘cautiously optimistic’ about the impending changes but wants action quickly.

She said: “Having reviewed what the Prime Minister said about mental health we are cautiously optimistic. Some of the recommendations that the Prime Minister has said will happen we feel will not be implemented for some time, when they are very much needed now, which is disappointing.”

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