Fife couple fear their daughter will kill herself - family's cry for help after 'fighting NHS and social workers'

A Fife family are living on a knife edge, not knowing if they’ll wake up to find their daughter dead.

By John A. MacInnes
Tuesday, 18th January 2022, 11:02 am
Updated Thursday, 20th January 2022, 2:05 pm
Abbie's parents say they have come to the end of their tether and just want help!
Abbie's parents say they have come to the end of their tether and just want help!

Tracey and Bob Boyes are at the end of their tether and are completely worn out fighting the health board, their daughter’s school, social workers, and even the police in an attempt to get the help their daughter Abbie so desperately needs.

The 14-year-old has attempted suicide on many occasions, most recently just last weekend. The family said today that turning to the media was their last hope to get help, and possibly save their daughter.

Tracey, from Glenrothes, said: “Over the life of our daughter, we have relentlessly asked for assistance - from her GP, the school, health visitors, social workers, police, Calms, and even charities - anybody we can talk too.

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“She has a mental health disorder, she even recognises that she needs help and knows that she has never received the support that she requires, she is now refusing care and has attempted suicide on many occasions, the last time this weekend - we asked the hospital to keep her in and give her psychological treatment for her safety and wellbeing, but they have gone ahead and discharged her. They said they couldn’t keep her in - even though we live with the possibility that we may wake up and find her gone. We are now all at home. Our family is living on a knife edge with no support.

“We reached out to Peter Grant MP in desperation - who directed us to Jenny Gilruth. She found out that Fife Council’s social work department had Abbie on a five months antisocial behaviour intervention program called Multi Systemic Therapy (MST) when clearly there is a psychological issue here that needs addressed to get to the root of the problem. Abbie can be violent towards us, her parents, in addition she self harms and constantly runs away, to the extent that something has to be done.

"We are living in a nightmare not knowing from one day to the next if there will be another telephone call about Abbie.

"She has been waiting three years for an assessment for autism spectrum disorder, the delay has been blamed on Covid. She has had a cognitive assessment completed which is part one of the pathway which shows a mild learning difficulty, this was completed three years ago. The second part, the check for autism was meant to be completed within a year.

“On speaking to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Nurse (CAMHS) at the Hospital she has a written diagnosis of ADHD for Abbie, which we had never been told about. Our understanding is she should have been assessed for this, which she never has been. This could be why MST have her on a behavioural program. Up to three months ago she was not recognised as having a learning disability because her cognitive assessment hadn't been evaluated.

“We have begged, pleaded, cried for assistance, what is it going to take? Our great fear is that our daughter will take it too far and there will be no way back for her and that will have a huge impact on everyone that loves and cares for her.

“We are totally drained as a family and have no avenues left which is why we have reached out to our local paper. Something must be done, and we must safeguard our daughter.

“This is now affecting the mental health of the whole family and is a very distressing situation to live with and through for so many years. Something must be done.”

Fife Council’s Head of Education and Children’s Services Kathy Henwood said: “We would never provide information on individual cases to protect the privacy of those involved.

“We work together with partners to support children, young people and families, consider their situations and concerns, and agree with them what actions need to be taken.

“These discussions can involve Fife Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) who provide specialist support to children and young people who could be at risk, experiencing high levels of emotional distress and self harming behaviours.

"The team offers focused interventions to help young people and families manage difficult feelings and complex emotions. Where appropriate, longer term therapeutic support is provided through Fife's Core CAMHS teams.

“Waiting times for autism assessment in Fife have been significantly impacted by COVID, and we are working hard to improve this situation in line with the Scottish Government’s Neurodevelopmental standards of care.

“We are developing a Fife Neurodevelopmental pathway and recruitment is ongoing to increase the number of professionals who are available to assess and support children, young people and families affected by neurodevelopmental disorders.

“Families can escalate concerns through their wellbeing meetings, direct to staff or through the complaints process.”