‘Sailor’s death was avoidable’: how NHS mental health system is failing children

Sailor identified as non-binary and was waiting for official assessment before they took their life

In their final conversation with counsellors, Sailor, who identified as non-binary, felt weighed down. The 14-year-old described the mass of emotions in them as growing by the day, and felt they had nowhere to turn for help.

Their parents, Jason and Monika, struggle to get the words out when they think of their child feeling so alone. Despite a referral to the NHS a year before Sailor died, no official help or assessment took place. The teenager ended up taking their own life in September last year after visits to accident and emergency owing to self-harming.

In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.

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Category: Mental Health