We’re here to offer help to all of Fife’s forgotten children...

editorial image

One in 10 children have a diagnosable mental health disorder – that’s roughly three children in every classroom.

However, three in every four children with a diagnosable mental health condition do not get access to the support that they need – with just 0.7 per cent of the NHS budget spent on children’s mental health.

For one group of parents in Fife those statistics just aren’t good enough.

Forgotten Fife Kids has been set up by Denise Hughes and Laura Turnbull to offer support, advice and guidance to other parents and families who have children diagnosed or waiting to be officially diagnosed with ADHD, autism or mental health issues.

“The group came about after a group of mums were talking about the different struggles that we were all having with our children,” mum-of-two-Laura explained.

“We soon discovered that we were all in the same boat and dealing with the same issues.

“We all feel that there isn’t enough support out there for families who are living with children who are on the spectrum or have ADHD.”

According to the worried parents, one of the main problems which became clear to them all was a lack of staff which, in turn, had a major impact on their children receiving the correct treatments.

“There is only one paediatrician for the whole of Fife and that really isn’t good enough,” said Laura.

“It means that the waiting list to get your child the treatment and diagnosis they need is far too long.

“In some instances parents were waiting 18 months for a referral – and some are still waiting.

“Some have been told to take their children to Whyteman’s Brae, the phsychiatric ward.

“That is no place to take children.

“Many parents have left upset, but some mums feel like that is their only choice.

“We’ve heard of children under the age of 11 self-harming; many of these youngsters have threatened to either hurt themselves or their siblings.

“But still there is no help readily available.

“It is the children who are suffering which is why we all decided to join forces and stand up to try to make the necessary change.”

Since the Forgotten Fife Kids Facebook page was set up, it has gained more than 4000 views.

And that number is growing daily as more and more desperate parents turn to the group for support.

“We are here to offer help and advice where it is needed,” Laura explained.

“We can point people in the right direction of where to seek professional advice such as from Cahms, Autism Rocks or the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB).

“We also share our own experiences which helps us all realise that we are not alone in this.”

“I think there is still a huge taboo surrounding mental illness, perhaps more so in children,” she continued.

“A lot of mums and dads don’t want to admit that they might be struggling, so they don’t always speak out and ask for help or even know where to turn to.

“That’s why we are here – to offer the support that many of these parents desperately need.

“We hope to organise fund-raising events in the future and set up a place to have meetings so that we can meet face to face.

“The group has really grown – it’s taken us all by surprise.

“But we want to be there for as many of Fife’s forgotten kids as we possibly can, both now and in the future.”

For further information, visit www.facebook.com/Forgotten-Fife-Kids.

According to the NHS, steps are being taken to try to help local parents and progress is being made.

Julie Paterson, Divisional General Manager (Fife-wide) of the Fife Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “The partnership continues to work hard to ensure that children, young people and adults are seen in a timely manner, including same day responses for those in the most urgent need.

“It is important to recognise that the number of referrals to Community Children’s Services continues to grow, in line with national trends.

“However, in response to increasing demand, a number of positive actions are progressing, including a large scale redesign of our Community Paediatric Service and early intervention strategies to address and support good mental health at an early stage.

“Progress is also ongoing with the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) waiting times continuing to improve.

“Fife also has one of the lowest national admission rates to inpatient units for children and young people.”