A 10-year-old boy who suffers from violent mood swings has been left in the care of hospital staff by his desperate parents who say they have been abandoned by social workers.
The boy, who has not been named, was taken to Dewsbury District Hospital on Saturday after attempting to hang himself at home in Mirfield. He was later transferred to Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield.
His 37-year-old mother and her 44-year-old husband say they are at their wits’ end over the lack of a formal diagnosis for the boy, and feel they are caught between contradictory advice from Kirklees social workers and officials with Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), the NHS body that assesses and treats young people with emotional, behavioural or mental health difficulties.
Out of desperation they left their son with accident and emergency staff at Pinderfields, who they praised for their support. Now they feared that by bringing him home his extreme and unpredictable behaviour could put his siblings, including a two-year-old sister, at risk.
“My son has never been officially diagnosed with any condition,” said his mother, who the Examiner is not identifying.
“But there is obviously something very wrong with this little boy and it needs addressing. This is not just a kid having tantrums.”
On Saturday the boy had what his parents describe as “a meltdown” that involved causing damage to the house, being violent, spitting and using “vile” language.
After being taken to a safe area – his bedroom – the boy calmed down. However, the next day he was found to have tried to hang himself.
“He has tried to self-harm before but not to this extent. In the last couple of weeks we have seen an escalation. Threats are turning into reality. We need help.”
The boy’s parents and grandparents believe they are now caught between two opposing points of view. They say officials with CAMHS have advised that Kirklees social workers were seeking a temporary housing solution for him and that he should stay in hospital until it was found.
However, social workers with Kirklees said that was not the case and he should return home.
His mother explained: “I said I was not taking him out until he gets the help he needs. I walked out and left him there on Monday night. It wasn’t an action I took lightly. These are drastic measures. I am doing this because I am desperate and he needs help.”
Since his suicide attempt her son has had a social worker assigned to him. However his parents believe this intervention is too little, too late.
In recent months he has received five different crime numbers for various incidents including common assault on his parents and sisters. At school staff have supported him through multiple incidents – including making death threats – that could have led to at least 20 fixed-term exclusions.
During the course of one week he had three referrals to social services from three different agencies. Two weeks before the most recent incident he was promised a social worker. On the evening after his apparent suicide attempt his family learned that no such allocation had been made.
“We found out when he was in the hospital. Had we got that support it might have prevented what happened.
“We are not getting the help we need. I have got a little boy who is lost in himself and there is nothing any of us can do. The people that can help us cannot see the issue.
“We would like him to see a psychologist. We said we would go private. They said they would not recognise the diagnosis.
“The worst case scenario is that he will kill himself. He told the ambulance men that he wanted to die. We are fighting for him and trying to get him the help that he needs.
“He said: ‘If I had a poorly finger they would fix it. Why can’t they fix me?’”
A spokeswoman for Kirklees Council said: “We are unable to comment on individual cases.”