Girls on the Edge


Girls on the Edge

Following three families whose daughters have been sectioned under the Mental Health Act to protect them from harming themselves, told in their own words with raw honesty.


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Transcript


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This programme contains some strong language and some scenes which some viewers may find upsetting

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Teenage girls are self-harming more than ever before.

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Admissions to A&E have risen two-thirds in the past decade.

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I don't want people just to know me as "that girl with problems"

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or "the girl who self-harms".

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This is the story of three families

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whose daughters have been sectioned...

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I just thought, I'm your sister.

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You can't leave me behind.

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..away from home,

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as they go through the most crucial stage in their treatment.

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No-one is expecting you to recover overnight.

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It doesn't happen like that.

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-SOBS:

-Yeah, but it's took a year and a half, Mum!

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What's it like to face the reality

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of being unable to keep your child safe?

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It sounds daft as a parent not to know that your own daughter

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wants to hurt herself.

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You're waiting for that phone call to say that she's killed herself.

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Having to hand over responsibility to a secure hospital,

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not knowing when they'll return?

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I'm really hopeful this time that she's going to crack it

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and we're going to get her home.

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"22nd July, 2017. All day yesterday, I was quite emotional.

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"Thoughts are bad at the moment

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"and I'm struggling to just ignore them now."

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"Favourite songs at the moment - Space Oddity, David Bowie.

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"No Surprises, Radiohead."

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Jade is 17.

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She was detained under the Mental Health Act 18 months ago

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to protect her from harming herself.

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Can I have some Special K, please?

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-Thank you.

-That's all right.

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'She's one of 90 patients at Fitzroy House,

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a secure psychiatric hospital

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which treats some of the most unwell children in the country

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with complex mental illness.

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-Do you mind if I join you, Jade?

-No, come join.

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Why are you here?

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Um, it started getting bad when I was about 12.

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Um...

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..and then,

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I don't know, it's always been around.

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But I just thought it was normal.

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When I was in year ten,

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so by the time GCSEs had already started,

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I just looked completely miserable in my eyes.

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Like if you just covered my face, you would see no emotion in my eyes.

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And that's when I actually thought to myself, like, "Crap.

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"I can't keep going on like this."

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With your mental health then, have you been diagnosed?

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Yeah.

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Schizotypal personality disorder.

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It's a bit of a complicated one.

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I don't actually understand it myself.

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For me, it just means...

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..thinking things that may not necessarily be true.

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Like paranoid or delusional thoughts.

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I don't trust my own mind.

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Jade takes a mixture of antidepressants

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and anti-psychotic drugs to help stabilise her mood.

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Her treatment also involves regular group and individual therapy.

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Thank you.

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She's observed 24 hours a day

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and lives on a locked ward with seven others.

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She's not allowed to have access to social media

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and is supervised with risk items

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such as mirrors or glass.

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I guess to anyone else, if they came here for a day,

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it would be difficult, but I think we're just so used to it now,

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we're so used to having observations and knowing where we are

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and having the doors opened for us and having things locked away,

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it just becomes normal now.

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But I know when I first came into hospital, it was...a shock.

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It was a complete shock.

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What does it feel like being here, then?

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Um...

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It's nice that you get to be with other people kind of like you,

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but I kind of miss home and my family.

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I kept blaming myself.

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I went over about 50 different things.

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Is it me? Is it the divorce? Is it the move?

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Is it the change of schools? Is she being bullied?

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Is it self-esteem? Oh, dear.

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There was nothing to indicate, as she was getting older,

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that there was anything like this down the pipeline.

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Took me ages to walk past her room and not go, "Morning, Jade."

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Or knock on the door, going, "Get up."

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You forget that she's not here. She's not here at all.

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It sometimes just makes me choke up and then, if I do that,

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I sometimes just take myself out of the room

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because I feel it's better.

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I don't want to get myself too upset.

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It doesn't stop myself from crying,

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but we're all human and entitled to cry about things.

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I just don't like to show it a lot of the time.

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We've had bad times in here, we've had good times in here.

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We had one of the worst ones when Jade tried to...

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She put a ligature around her neck

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and I walked in on her with it around her neck.

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So then we phoned the unit and told them

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they were bringing her straight back.

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In some ways, is it a relief to have her in hospital?

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It sounds horrible, but yes.

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A big relief, and it's not saying that's shirking responsibility

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as a parent, but you kind of feel...

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..yeah, someone else is looking after her and...

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..they are doing far more than we ever could.

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Just finding photos.

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I think we must've took about a million photographs.

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At the time, they just looked exactly the same, obviously,

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with slightly different colour hair.

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Yes, I did the twin thing, dressing them up in identical clothing.

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What are you doing?

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LAUGHS

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They are completely different.

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Jade....

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Jade!

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Jade will just keep everything to herself and only say things

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if she feels appropriate.

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Hello, bubby.

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Megan's more forthright.

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Megan will say what she thinks

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whether people like her opinion or not.

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I think she just finds it very hard accepting where Jade is.

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Jade was going to be the one that goes to university,

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that goes to college, that gets an amazing job.

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I never thought that we'd be in this place right now

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and her being in hospital.

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Did you have any idea that she was unwell or did you...?

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No, not at all.

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I knew she had been spending...

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a lot of time in her room

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and obviously I thought nothing of it,

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because Jade's a very quiet person

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and obviously she never said anything to anyone.

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She never mentioned anything to anyone.

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She wasn't upset. She didn't look it.

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She didn't look like anything was wrong with her at all,

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but she'd been self-harming for a while.

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We didn't know how long.

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It got worse and worse as the months went on.

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I was heartbroken.

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Don't know, I just thought I was going to lose her.

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And obviously there'd be nights that I'd cry cos I'd think...

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..all these things that we done together...

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It's horrible.

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I don't visit her a lot any more

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because it hurts me looking at her.

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It's a horrible place to be.

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Like, all the people there that, you know,

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have attempted suicide, and I think,

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I don't think that's a good place for my sister.

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To me, it feels like she's in prison.

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# Ground control to Major Tom

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# Ground control to Major Tom... #

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Jade turns 18 next month and will have to move on from Fitzroy.

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Like a third of all patients here,

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her next step will be a secure hospital for adults,

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unless her medical team thinks she's ready to come off her section

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and be discharged.

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# And I think my spaceship knows which way to go... #

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I feel like, at the minute, I'm nearly ready

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to get out into the community

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and if I go to adults,

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I feel like it's just going to put me back a little bit.

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# Ground control to Major Tom

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# Your circuit's dead, there's something wrong... #

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They say that once you go into adults,

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you kind of get a bit stuck in the system.

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You can get institutionalised.

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I kind of want to start afresh and just get on with my life.

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-You can't do that.

-I can.

-You can't.

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You cannot put that on there.

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Jess is also 17

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and another patient at Fitzroy sectioned for her own safety.

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Some days, I'm really good. Some days, I'm really bad.

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There's no really in between.

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Really?

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Yeah. Very up and down.

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One minute, you're fine,

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the next minute, everything's going wrong.

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What do you struggle with, then?

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My emotions.

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Don't deal with them in the best way.

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Jess began self-harming in her first year at secondary school.

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Since then, she's been in and out of psychiatric units.

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You've been to how many different units, Jess?

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About eight or nine, probably.

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All over the country.

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Manchester, Woking, Kent,

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Southampton, Northampton, Torquay.

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So, first of all, we're going to start with

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you guys getting some of this, Post-it notes,

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and what I want you to do is brainstorm

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all the emotions that you can think of.

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Jess was transferred to Fitzroy seven months ago

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and her medical team are treating her

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for mixed disorder of conduct and emotions.

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So this is the first goal of the session,

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to be able to name your emotions.

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The main part of Jess's treatment plan is DBT -

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dialectical behaviour therapy -

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which helps her develop new ways of coping with her emotions

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so they don't become overwhelming.

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I want you to pick what is the one emotion that you find the hardest.

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I want you to pick it up when you find it.

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So we've got over here - "guilty," "ashamed,"

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so we're looking at how we can change our emotion

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once it's started.

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None of the patients know when they will be able to go home.

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Most are on sections which are formally renewed every six months.

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Jess has decided to contest her renewal.

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Her case will be heard by an impartial panel of volunteers

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specially trained in the Mental Health Act.

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How do you feel about being on section, Jessica?

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I don't really want to be.

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You don't want to be on section?

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So that sort of indicates to us that you're contesting the section.

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Is that right?

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You said that you don't want to be on section any more.

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Could you just tell me why not?

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I don't know. I just feel like I'd be able to get a bit further, like,

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outside the hospital, like, going to college.

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Sophie, can you give us an update, please?

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I've known Jess since she was first admitted.

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Initially engaged quite frequently in serious self-harm behaviours

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that we were quite concerned about.

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Now she's made progress but her risk is still there and obviously there

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was the episode of Jess attempting to abscond from St Andrews.

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During that incident, she was quite difficult to manage

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and it took about two-and-a-half hours to get her back to the ward.

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Jessica, our opinion is, from what we've heard,

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the criteria for detention is met and we feel that you are doing well

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here and need to remain, so that you can continue to improve.

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Thank you for coming along. You've done really well, Jessica.

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I wasn't expecting to get taken off my section

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but then there's part of me thinking maybe I would.

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It's easy to get in, hard to get out.

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Jess's parents have only had their daughter home for 14 months in the past five years.

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We've missed so much of her growing up

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and all we get is 48 hours at the weekend.

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With no secure hospital for children in their county,

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they've always had to travel to visit her.

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They currently do a 300-mile round trip to Northampton every weekend.

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When Jessica first went in the unit, she was 13 years old.

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To be that far away from your family...

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Jess is the youngest of four siblings.

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You sign that to say that you haven't got anything on you.

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This is the first time her brothers have been able to visit in three months.

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They've got a couple of, well, they are called meeting rooms off the ward

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and that's as far as you go.

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You don't see what they do all day.

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We haven't actually seen her room.

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We never ever wanted to put her in a unit in the first place

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and we did fight really hard to keep her at home,

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but it just got to the stage where we couldn't keep her safe any more,

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so we had no option.

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We had a meeting with the consultant and they said,

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"What do you want, Jessica?"

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And she said, "I want to go home."

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And he said, "So what will you do when you get home?"

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And she said, "Kill myself."

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And then she was sectioned.

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It was the worst day of my life.

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She started with anorexia. And then she progressed from there.

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Everything was locked away at home and then we had the kind of overdoses,

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anything she could get her hands on really.

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She drank bleach a couple of times.

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Banging her head against the wall.

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She came home one weekend on leave

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and she tried to throw herself out of the car.

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Her imagination for harm is just unbelievable.

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Had you ever felt at risk of her actually following through

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-with some of this?

-Oh, very much so.

-Yeah, very much.

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-I can't... We can't believe that she's still alive today.

-Mmm.

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Who's this?

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I think the one who is most affected is Sam, because he's been

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at home the whole time.

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She was in Woking when he was doing his GCSEs.

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I mean, he did his revision for that in the back of the car on the way to Woking and back.

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Are you all right?

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It's difficult for her and it's difficult for us to understand what she's going through.

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She's just been...

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stuck in a confined space

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for nearly a year now.

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She hasn't had much contact.

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We'd all prefer to have her at home.

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What have I got to do?

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You've got to collect four fours, three threes.

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Got any jacks, Jess?

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-Have I got any jacks?

-Yeah, yeah, jacks.

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I haven't been out in a really long time.

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I get a bit scared.

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I panic.

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Anything could happen.

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One queen.

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Jess is currently not allowed to leave the secure setting of

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the hospital. The last time staff took her out on the grounds,

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she panicked and tried to run away.

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She's terrified of being in the real world.

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Large crowds, she can't do.

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To Jess,

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Joe Bloggs walking down the street is a terrorist, or a murderer.

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It's got a lot worse since she's been in because they are taken out of the real world.

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Do you ever ask yourself, "Why Jess?"

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Oh, why Jess? Yeah. All the time.

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And are there any answers the doctors have been able to give you?

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Nobody knows why.

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I'm hoping that this hospital is the one that sorts her out.

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A lot has happened since the end of last month and it's only been a week.

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I'm losing control again.

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I can't see any sign of hope,

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light or a future with a sense of wellbeing.

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It's just two weeks until Jade turns 18.

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Her medical team have told her that she'll be moving

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to an adult secure unit.

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They say she's not ready, she should still be in a hospital

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but in adult services, and with that,

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because you can't guarantee what age you are going to be put in with.

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bearing in mind she's only 18,

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a lot of time, they don't distinguish between an 18 and an 80-year-old.

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What are you worried about?

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That she could go downhill.

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That we could lose all the hard work that's been put into

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these last few months.

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That she's not going to want to do anything.

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I don't know. Just all manner of feelings.

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It's really difficult.

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Sorry.

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Fitzroy is just half an hour's drive for Clare,

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but when Jade turns 18, she'll be moved to an available bed

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which could be anywhere in the country.

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Hello, sweetheart.

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-Hello, Mum.

-Are you all right?

-Yeah.

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Are you tired?

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Yeah? Me too.

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Shall we go outside?

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I don't know how this is going to go.

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I couldn't eat lunch today because I was just thinking about it.

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I was thinking what the fuck is going to happen?

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I just feel like I've let you down so much because...

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-You haven't let anyone down.

-I was saying to Jane as well,

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I literally feel like I've just let everyone down because I wasn't

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listening to everyone at the start, but I'd got to the point where I was listening,

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and it was too late by that time and now I'm going into adult and I

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-feel like I've let everyone down.

-You haven't let anyone down.

0:20:430:20:46

Look at me. Look at me.

0:20:460:20:48

-Look at me.

-I can't, Mum.

-Jade!

-I can't, I can't.

0:20:480:20:50

Jade! You haven't let anyone down.

0:20:500:20:53

I'm sorry.

0:20:580:21:00

-Why are you sorry?

-I feel like I've let you down.

0:21:000:21:02

Jade! Stop saying that.

0:21:020:21:04

I was only meant to be in here for like, what? Two months?

0:21:040:21:07

No-one's expecting you to recover overnight.

0:21:070:21:10

It doesn't happen like that.

0:21:100:21:12

But it's took a year-and-a-half, Mum.

0:21:120:21:13

It's not your fault. You're doing all you can

0:21:130:21:16

to get yourself off the section.

0:21:160:21:20

Stop saying you've let me down, because you haven't.

0:21:200:21:25

Across the country, adult inpatient beds have been cut.

0:21:290:21:32

The number of patients treated out of their local area

0:21:340:21:36

has gone up by 40% in two years.

0:21:360:21:40

I'm hoping it's going to be within this area,

0:21:400:21:44

but it could be outside of the county, as well.

0:21:440:21:48

There's no definites at the minute.

0:21:480:21:51

The only definite is that I'm going to adult and that's it.

0:21:510:21:55

That's not a particularly great definite.

0:21:570:21:59

PHONE RINGS

0:22:060:22:08

Hello?

0:22:100:22:12

Hello, darling.

0:22:120:22:14

-Hello?

-Are you all right?

-I'm all right.

0:22:140:22:17

We're coming up today but I don't know whether we'll make it before the end of visiting time.

0:22:170:22:22

-That's cool.

-We'll come in tomorrow.

0:22:220:22:24

-That's fine.

-Yeah? OK.

0:22:240:22:26

OK, love you. Bye. Bye.

0:22:260:22:29

OK. Love you too. Bye, bye, bye, bye, bye.

0:22:290:22:32

That's the last picture I've got with her arms like that.

0:22:400:22:44

It was about three months after that was taken that I got a phone call

0:22:460:22:50

from the school to say that she'd self-harmed.

0:22:500:22:53

She started on her belly to start off with and then,

0:22:550:22:59

then she went to her arms.

0:22:590:23:01

Looking back, there were signs, but at the time,

0:23:040:23:07

she'd say she had a migraine so she didn't have to go to school.

0:23:070:23:11

And within an hour or two, she'd be fine.

0:23:110:23:13

Why was she avoiding school?

0:23:130:23:15

Because of the bullies.

0:23:150:23:17

They were calling her fat and chubby and...

0:23:170:23:21

And things like that.

0:23:220:23:24

I think it was more verbal and mental bullying

0:23:240:23:28

than it was physical.

0:23:280:23:30

When I was a kid, you didn't have Facebook.

0:23:320:23:34

We didn't have phones.

0:23:340:23:35

Obviously, now you've got online bullying.

0:23:350:23:38

One thing that sticks in my mind about Jess,

0:23:400:23:42

in her bedroom, she had a desk clock-radio kind of thing

0:23:420:23:45

and she had the Sugababes song Ugly on repeat.

0:23:450:23:48

She was probably about nine, ten, 11 - that kind of age.

0:23:480:23:52

And it was constantly on, all the time.

0:23:520:23:54

You listen to the words and you think,

0:23:540:23:57

she was worried about the way she looked and the way she felt then.

0:23:570:24:00

It started off with the anorexia but what I can't get my head around is

0:24:020:24:06

how we went from an eating disorder

0:24:060:24:08

to suicide attempts.

0:24:080:24:11

I had a phone call from the police to stay that she was on the multistorey car park.

0:24:130:24:19

They managed to talk her down.

0:24:190:24:21

How old was Jess then?

0:24:240:24:26

12.

0:24:260:24:27

It's heartbreaking for her, really.

0:24:320:24:33

One, that I didn't pick up on it

0:24:360:24:37

and two, that she, you know, was that unhappy

0:24:390:24:43

and couldn't say.

0:24:430:24:45

I'm updating your social circumstance report

0:24:530:24:56

in light of your sectioning.

0:24:560:24:58

When Jess came to Fitzroy,

0:24:580:25:00

her parents handed over responsibility for her care,

0:25:000:25:04

from decisions about treatment to whether she's safe enough to go out.

0:25:040:25:08

-Hello.

-Hi.

-Sorry I was a bit late.

0:25:080:25:12

It's OK.

0:25:120:25:13

Jess's parents have fortnightly meetings with her psychiatrist, Ennis.

0:25:160:25:20

He will decide when she's ready to go home.

0:25:200:25:23

-We really do want to help her.

-Yeah, sure.

0:25:240:25:26

I don't understand it 100%,

0:25:260:25:28

but you have got to try and do the best for your child.

0:25:280:25:30

I've spent many years trying to understand the complexities of

0:25:300:25:34

these types of problems and I think, ultimately,

0:25:340:25:37

some of it is just incomprehensible.

0:25:370:25:39

You know, when you see your son or daughter, you know,

0:25:390:25:41

trying to severely harm themselves,

0:25:410:25:42

it's very hard to get your head around why that's happening,

0:25:420:25:45

but ultimately, the crucial bit is how you manage it.

0:25:450:25:48

-Can I go and get Jess, then? Is that all right?

-Yes.

-Yes.

0:25:480:25:51

Right. I'll be two seconds.

0:25:510:25:53

Hello, Missus.

0:25:540:25:56

-How are things?

-Not too bad.

0:25:570:25:59

I understand there's been some ups and downs, sometimes,

0:25:590:26:02

when things have been challenging,

0:26:020:26:04

sometimes when things have been really positive,

0:26:040:26:06

and general mood control at the moment. How's that been?

0:26:060:26:08

-It's not been too bad.

-It's not been too bad.

0:26:080:26:11

How do you feel that your mum and dad are coping with your mental state at the moment?

0:26:110:26:15

-I know they're in the room.

-All right.

0:26:150:26:18

Do you think you've changed as a person?

0:26:180:26:20

Do you think your brain's maturing or you're developing new coping strategies? Or...

0:26:200:26:24

-Something's changed.

-Something's changed?

-Mmm.

0:26:240:26:27

She's definitely through that very severe turmoil

0:26:270:26:30

sort of stage when she first arrived.

0:26:300:26:33

I've seen some of the strengths you've got

0:26:330:26:34

and I've seen the areas of challenge that you've got too.

0:26:340:26:37

We will have to give you leave again at some point.

0:26:370:26:39

We can't postpone it forever.

0:26:390:26:41

What would be the challenges for you going out on leave?

0:26:410:26:44

I don't know. Just getting back into socialising

0:26:440:26:47

with like big groups of people, crowds, yeah.

0:26:470:26:51

We don't expect that you're always going to feel great.

0:26:510:26:54

There will be times when your mood will be quite low and you will be

0:26:540:26:56

struggling, but it's how you manage them that's the crucial bit of it.

0:26:560:27:00

All right. Nice to see you all.

0:27:000:27:01

-OK.

-All right?

-Thank you.

0:27:010:27:03

-I shall see you later.

-Thank you, Ennis. Thank you very much.

0:27:030:27:06

-All the best.

-Thank you.

0:27:060:27:08

Today, I see quite a positive Jess.

0:27:080:27:10

Over the last few weeks,

0:27:100:27:11

she seems to have really come on and is working really hard,

0:27:110:27:16

and she's engaging with DBT, which seems to be helping.

0:27:160:27:21

But, then, Jess changes so quickly

0:27:210:27:23

that you can't get too complacent, really.

0:27:230:27:27

Right, girlies. Who is doing nails?

0:27:290:27:31

Me.

0:27:310:27:33

-What colour are your dresses, girls?

-Black.

0:27:330:27:36

Are you excited?

0:27:390:27:41

-Yeah.

-Is everyone going from your ward?

0:27:410:27:44

-Pretty much.

-Yeah.

0:27:440:27:46

Jess has decided to go to the hospital's prom.

0:27:460:27:49

Do you want me to pin this all up?

0:27:490:27:51

It's a chance to see how she'll cope with a large group of people.

0:27:510:27:54

Are you going for the whole two hours?

0:27:540:27:57

I dunno.

0:27:570:28:00

Makes you feel better when you've had your hair done, especially going to prom.

0:28:000:28:03

It's such a big thing.

0:28:030:28:04

I don't know. I never got a prom at school.

0:28:040:28:07

LOUD MUSIC AND CHATTER

0:28:110:28:14

Jess, can you hear me, love.

0:28:570:28:59

Jess, it's OK. Jess, it's OK.

0:28:590:29:02

Listen, I know it's really hard...

0:29:020:29:05

OK? But it's people that you know.

0:29:060:29:08

It's me and Tim. Nadine and Tim.

0:29:080:29:10

Just try and slow that breathing down for me.

0:29:100:29:12

Nice and slowly. OK.

0:29:120:29:15

Nice and slow.

0:29:150:29:17

It's OK.

0:29:170:29:19

No, Jess, no kicking.

0:29:190:29:21

Come on.

0:29:210:29:22

Let's get you standing up.

0:29:220:29:25

No, Jess. Come on.

0:29:250:29:27

Are you all right, Tim?

0:29:270:29:28

Jess, I'm going to put some ice in this hand.

0:29:280:29:31

Right, and I'm going to put a little bit on the back of your neck.

0:29:310:29:36

OK. Are you ready?

0:29:360:29:38

What do you reckon? Get up? That's it! Well done, mate.

0:29:410:29:44

-You're OK.

-Are you OK?

0:29:440:29:46

-Well done.

-Right, we're going to still help you, OK?

0:29:460:29:49

Well done, that's it.

0:29:520:29:54

It was really hot, really crowded, really loud.

0:30:050:30:07

I tried to keep pushing it all out of my head, all my worries, and stuff,

0:30:080:30:12

but then it just got too much.

0:30:120:30:14

I just panicked.

0:30:140:30:16

I just...

0:30:160:30:18

..went out of control.

0:30:180:30:20

Does that happen quite a lot?

0:30:200:30:22

Not as much as it used to.

0:30:220:30:24

You're going to go into the bathroom.

0:30:250:30:27

You're going to brush your teeth.

0:30:270:30:29

You've worked so hard. You finally think you're getting somewhere,

0:30:290:30:31

like you'll be able to get out of here soon.

0:30:310:30:34

And it all comes crashing back down.

0:30:340:30:36

The average stay for patients at Fitzroy is just over a year.

0:30:440:30:48

It's been horrible, like, being away from home,

0:30:490:30:52

being away from all my friends, like,

0:30:520:30:54

just being away from kind of real life.

0:30:540:30:56

Erin is 16.

0:30:570:30:59

She's being treated for depression,

0:30:590:31:01

anxiety and mixed disorder of conduct and emotions.

0:31:010:31:04

ALARM RINGS

0:31:040:31:06

It's always hard when the ward's unsettled because a lot of the issues people are

0:31:230:31:27

having, like, you've been in that situation before.

0:31:270:31:30

Sometimes you do kind of think of having incidents again.

0:31:300:31:34

We start by looking at what expectations are for skills training.

0:31:370:31:40

Who'd like to read the first one?

0:31:400:31:42

-I'll read the first one?

-Go on, then.

0:31:420:31:44

Each member must be attending ongoing, individual therapy.

0:31:440:31:47

Members should not discuss past suicidal behaviours

0:31:470:31:51

with other members outside of the session.

0:31:510:31:53

Like Jess, Erin is being helped to cope when she is distressed,

0:31:530:31:58

so she doesn't self-harm when her feelings become unmanageable.

0:31:580:32:01

Has anybody got any examples of when they've been in one of these mind states?

0:32:010:32:05

I've got one when I was in reasonable mind.

0:32:050:32:08

-Yeah?

-So, the ward's been quiet and settled at the minute, and, like,

0:32:080:32:12

I've been thinking through, like, whether or not, like,

0:32:120:32:16

to join in and stuff, so, I'm thinking of all the reasons why I shouldn't.

0:32:160:32:22

-Like, the logic?

-Yeah.

0:32:220:32:25

How did you end up being someone who needed hospital treatment?

0:32:250:32:28

Er, well, I don't really know

0:32:290:32:32

how to like start with it, really, because,

0:32:320:32:36

like, it built up over time.

0:32:360:32:38

Things kept happening. So I got bullied at my school,

0:32:380:32:41

so I had to move schools. Then after I moved schools,

0:32:410:32:44

my mum and dad split up and it was all like that.

0:32:440:32:48

It was, like, all had a domino effect.

0:32:480:32:49

Everything just kept getting worse and then it built up over time.

0:32:490:32:53

Then, I did just crack.

0:32:530:32:56

Erin hid her mental illness until she had a mental breakdown at her friend's party.

0:32:570:33:01

She was taken to A&E and was sectioned four weeks later.

0:33:050:33:08

It feels so much different to how I felt then, like,

0:33:080:33:13

that was the first time at that party that anybody had any idea that

0:33:130:33:17

I was actually struggling, myself.

0:33:170:33:20

Like, I'd never...

0:33:200:33:21

Nobody had ever seen me like that, or anything.

0:33:210:33:24

I just felt very alone.

0:33:250:33:28

It's a bit deep.

0:33:280:33:30

But I didn't want to be alive any more.

0:33:300:33:33

Hello. Can we have two phones, please?

0:33:380:33:41

Thank you.

0:33:430:33:44

Take your pick.

0:33:440:33:46

Right.

0:33:460:33:48

Are you ready?

0:33:480:33:50

Erin hasn't self-harmed in over two months.

0:33:500:33:53

I've had a lot of support, so,

0:33:530:33:54

talking to staff has been the main thing for me.

0:33:540:33:58

I'm definitely being more open.

0:33:580:34:00

Like, I can talk about how I'm feeling.

0:34:000:34:02

Now her medical team and parents agree she's ready to start working

0:34:030:34:07

towards going home.

0:34:070:34:08

-Do you want me to just leave you here?

-What? Yeah.

-Sure?

-Yeah.

0:34:080:34:11

-OK. I'm going to walk down this way.

-OK.

-Have a good time.

-Yeah, will do.

0:34:110:34:15

Her first step is a trip out with staff.

0:34:150:34:17

And today, for the first time in a year,

0:34:180:34:20

she's having half an hour on her own.

0:34:200:34:22

To help me cope through things,

0:34:240:34:26

I always just think of what effect it will have on me in the future.

0:34:260:34:30

I'm desperate to go home.

0:34:310:34:33

They're so nice. They'd sell them at Kinghead.

0:34:380:34:41

Oh, they do milkshake.

0:34:410:34:43

-Can't we have an Indian?

-No!

0:34:430:34:45

"Can we have an Indian!"

0:34:450:34:47

From what we've learned,

0:34:470:34:50

Erin was feeling like there was no future for her.

0:34:500:34:53

You get angry with yourself

0:34:530:34:55

and think, "How did I not know?"

0:34:550:34:57

"How could I not see this?"

0:34:570:34:59

But, she just hid it.

0:35:000:35:03

You know, I think the effect it's had on the family, as a whole,

0:35:030:35:06

has been huge.

0:35:060:35:08

Her younger sister. She's autistic.

0:35:080:35:10

She doesn't cope particularly well with change.

0:35:100:35:13

She's seen some things that have been awful.

0:35:130:35:15

It happened in one. It wasn't like gradual to me.

0:35:170:35:20

Like, one minute she was Erin

0:35:200:35:21

and then she was this.

0:35:210:35:23

She as....

0:35:230:35:25

Someone else.

0:35:250:35:26

She was pulling her hair out, screaming,

0:35:280:35:31

like, saying, "She's behind me."

0:35:320:35:34

"She's behind me. She's following me."

0:35:340:35:37

And then she just started saying, "She sits on the end of my bed,"

0:35:370:35:40

talking about this girl with black hair who follows her around,

0:35:400:35:43

who makes herself self-harm

0:35:430:35:47

and she said that she tried to

0:35:470:35:51

end her life. She tried to hang herself

0:35:510:35:54

and she was crying and I just didn't know what to do.

0:35:540:35:57

And it was a horrible night.

0:35:570:36:00

What's it been like without Erin here, then?

0:36:000:36:03

I've been struggling a lot more.

0:36:030:36:04

I went through a phase of not going to school for two months because I

0:36:060:36:08

just couldn't get up in the mornings.

0:36:080:36:11

I feel like bad for telling Mum and Dad when things are wrong,

0:36:120:36:16

because they've already got a lot on.

0:36:160:36:18

Erin needed more help and needed the support more than I did.

0:36:180:36:22

# Happy birthday to you.

0:36:320:36:35

# Happy birthday to you

0:36:350:36:37

# Happy birthday dear Megan.

0:36:370:36:40

# Happy birthday to you. #

0:36:400:36:43

Blow 'em out.

0:36:430:36:45

One, two, three, blow.

0:36:450:36:48

Yay!

0:36:480:36:50

Well done.

0:36:500:36:52

What did Jade say?

0:36:520:36:54

'To Megan, on our 18th,

0:36:540:36:56

'thank you for always being yourself.

0:36:560:36:58

'I'm sorry for not being able to spend this birthday with you.

0:36:580:37:01

'Endless amount of love, Jade.

0:37:010:37:03

'PS - try not to get too hammered.'

0:37:030:37:05

And I did get too hammered!

0:37:050:37:08

Megan, you said you were not going to get to the stage where you were off your trolley.

0:37:080:37:12

I had Malibu and Coke last night.

0:37:120:37:14

No, Malibu and lemonade.

0:37:140:37:16

I had a double Malibu and lemonade, then a single Malibu,

0:37:160:37:19

-then a double vodka, two double vodkas and Coke...

-Megan. Megan.

0:37:190:37:22

Then two double vodkas and a Monster.

0:37:220:37:24

MUSIC FROM PHONE

0:37:240:37:26

Was that you on the left-hand side?

0:37:270:37:29

I don't know.

0:37:290:37:30

I don't even remember that.

0:37:320:37:33

Did you not think about forks?

0:37:350:37:37

No, I just thought you could shove it in your mouth!

0:37:370:37:40

I love icing.

0:37:420:37:44

If you want to come, it would be really nice.

0:37:470:37:49

Because this is Jade's very last weekend on the unit,

0:37:510:37:55

because officially she's an adult.

0:37:550:37:56

I'll probably stay here.

0:37:560:37:58

Oh, Megs!

0:37:580:38:00

-No, I will.

-No.

0:38:000:38:02

-But...

-But, what.

0:38:020:38:05

-I'm hanging.

-..a raging hangover.

0:38:050:38:06

I know you're hanging but that's your own fault, isn't it?

0:38:060:38:10

Me and Megan are so different and you wouldn't even think that we were sisters.

0:38:130:38:17

She is my...

0:38:190:38:21

I know it sounds cheesy, but like my main reason to recover.

0:38:210:38:25

But I know that she doesn't like coming into the hospital.

0:38:250:38:29

-Are you all right?

-Yeah.

0:38:290:38:32

Megan was going to come but she's a bit hanging and she said,

0:38:350:38:38

thank you very much for her card.

0:38:380:38:40

We're going to call her later when we get out.

0:38:400:38:43

-That's fine.

-Sure?

-I knew she would be anyway.

0:38:430:38:45

I wasn't expecting her to come.

0:38:470:38:49

I can't imagine myself in her position.

0:38:490:38:52

I know when my friend was in hospital,

0:38:530:38:56

with me it was really difficult.

0:38:560:38:58

I found it really hard every time I found out she'd had an incident,

0:38:580:39:02

it really got to me and affected me and it properly put me down,

0:39:020:39:06

and I just hope that that's not the same for Megan.

0:39:070:39:10

I hope that that's not how she's feeling.

0:39:100:39:13

Now Jade's 18,

0:39:200:39:22

she's on a waiting list to be transferred to an adult hospital.

0:39:220:39:26

Do you think you're going to be moving tomorrow?

0:39:260:39:28

Maybe. Maybe not.

0:39:280:39:30

I could be moving tomorrow, could be moving Tuesday or Wednesday.

0:39:310:39:34

I don't know.

0:39:360:39:38

I'm feeling OK about it.

0:39:380:39:40

I don't know how OK I'm going to be about it tomorrow, but...

0:39:400:39:43

I don't know.

0:39:440:39:46

DOOR OPENS

0:39:510:39:53

Reception's down there.

0:39:530:39:57

It's six weeks since Erin's first trip out of hospital.

0:40:020:40:05

Hello.

0:40:050:40:07

Hi. I like your top. I have a black one.

0:40:070:40:10

Everyone feels she's ready for the next step -

0:40:110:40:14

a night back home.

0:40:140:40:15

All right. Front or back? Can we do rock, paper, scissors?

0:40:160:40:19

Rock, paper, scissors, shake.

0:40:190:40:21

Get in the back.

0:40:210:40:24

# She works the night, by the water...

0:40:240:40:27

# She's gonna stress

0:40:270:40:29

Stop it!

0:40:290:40:30

# So far away from her father's daughter... #

0:40:300:40:33

Erin's going for it. Look, Mum!

0:40:330:40:34

# She just wants a life for her baby

0:40:340:40:37

# All on her own, no-one will come

0:40:370:40:40

# She's got to save him

0:40:400:40:43

# She tells him, oh, love

0:40:430:40:45

# No-one's ever gonna hurt you, love...

0:40:450:40:47

Oh, you don't like it? Why are you singing it?

0:40:470:40:50

-You can't stop yourself.

-It's catchy.

0:40:500:40:52

'I'm honestly like just so excited about being at home.

0:40:540:40:58

'I've not been home in over a year.

0:40:590:41:01

'Like, there's a massive part of me that's just so anxious about it.

0:41:020:41:06

'I'm just worried I'm going to mess things up.'

0:41:090:41:11

Don't make me look stupid.

0:41:200:41:22

It just feels like things are starting to fall into place now and,

0:41:280:41:33

yeah, I'm actually starting to believe that this is it this time,

0:41:330:41:36

that she will come home.

0:41:360:41:38

Look around.

0:41:400:41:42

'In the first unit that Erin was in, we were building up to Erin being

0:41:420:41:46

'discharged and she'd had a couple of overnight stays,

0:41:460:41:50

'and she was staying overnight at her dad's

0:41:500:41:53

'and I got a phone call in the middle of the night saying,

0:41:530:41:55

"Can you come? Erin's taken an overdose."

0:41:550:41:58

'She'd managed to find some tablets.'

0:41:580:42:02

This is great.

0:42:020:42:04

I think it will be a long time before I can actually either

0:42:040:42:07

be out with her, or her out on her own

0:42:070:42:10

without me worrying really what's going on.

0:42:100:42:14

What's that like as her mum?

0:42:150:42:17

Terrifying.

0:42:210:42:23

Yeah, I'm terrified.

0:42:270:42:29

But she'll do it...

0:42:330:42:35

..because she's a fighter and she's strong.

0:42:360:42:39

Reasons to recover.

0:42:420:42:44

Babies.

0:42:440:42:46

YouTube, shopping, have a home, fall in love,

0:42:460:42:51

travel, Lush, first pet,

0:42:510:42:54

first caravan holiday.

0:42:540:42:56

My 18th.

0:42:560:42:58

I think Grace made this for me.

0:42:590:43:01

God, don't.

0:43:010:43:02

What's it say?

0:43:020:43:04

Through thick and thin.

0:43:040:43:06

My teacher said think of something that,

0:43:060:43:08

someone or something that inspires you.

0:43:080:43:10

She gave it me on my birthday.

0:43:100:43:12

Because I spent my birthday in hospital.

0:43:120:43:15

Grace, what does it feel like to have Erin back?

0:43:150:43:18

It's much better because actually waking up in the morning seeing her

0:43:180:43:22

snore her head off is much better than waking up

0:43:220:43:25

and seeing an empty bed.

0:43:250:43:27

And it's my sister, so it's like having,

0:43:270:43:30

like having my partner in crime back

0:43:300:43:33

and we can do things we used to do when we were little.

0:43:330:43:37

It Erin proves she can cope with more time at home,

0:43:400:43:42

she'll be allowed to leave hospital for good.

0:43:420:43:46

Hi, sweetheart. How're you doing?

0:43:560:43:59

It's two weeks since the prom.

0:43:590:44:01

Jess is seeing her parents at another get-together for patients.

0:44:010:44:05

The hospital's annual educational achievement day.

0:44:050:44:08

You don't have to go up.

0:44:080:44:09

Nobody has to go up.

0:44:090:44:11

People only go up if they want to.

0:44:110:44:13

All right? Don't get stressed about it.

0:44:130:44:15

Does that feel better? Yeah?

0:44:150:44:17

DRUMMING

0:44:190:44:21

DRUMMING GETS LOUDER

0:44:340:44:36

-Are you all right there?

-Yeah.

0:44:480:44:51

I'm going to ask you to come up now and we're going to present some certificates.

0:44:510:44:56

All right?

0:45:050:45:07

Jess?

0:45:070:45:09

Do you want to go outside?

0:45:120:45:15

She's been struggling all the way through.

0:45:430:45:45

I think it's crowds. She doesn't like being in lots and lots of crowds and noise.

0:45:450:45:49

I think she tried her best to stay there, but she couldn't do it.

0:45:490:45:53

She's come so far - but yet, seeing this, she hasn't.

0:45:530:45:58

This is reality.

0:45:580:46:00

-Yeah, it is.

-And that is hard.

0:46:000:46:02

She's got a long way to go.

0:46:020:46:04

I thought I'd come and speak to you guys,

0:47:010:47:04

just to reassure you that she's absolutely fine.

0:47:040:47:06

And actually, what she's done today is a significant stepping stone for

0:47:060:47:11

her in the future. She's made a choice this is too much.

0:47:110:47:14

She's left, she's kept herself safe and that is all we want from her,

0:47:140:47:19

to be able to manage her emotions.

0:47:190:47:22

I think maybe if we

0:47:220:47:25

don't focus any conversations on it.

0:47:250:47:28

But if you're OK, I can go and get Jessica.

0:47:280:47:32

Yeah. Right.

0:47:320:47:34

You've done brilliantly, OK?

0:47:360:47:38

Cool beans. I'll see you later.

0:47:380:47:42

Hello. I've got a present for you.

0:47:420:47:45

I've got a present for you.

0:47:450:47:47

Come here.

0:47:470:47:49

Fine.

0:47:490:47:52

-Oh!

-How's that neck?

-You've still got a bad neck, have you?

0:47:520:47:56

Yeah. It really hurts.

0:47:560:47:58

When she's having a good day, you wouldn't know she was ill.

0:48:030:48:06

On a good day. But when you see her now,

0:48:060:48:08

you can see she is genuinely a very, very poorly child.

0:48:080:48:12

And unless you can see crutches, or plasters or stitches,

0:48:120:48:15

people don't think they are ill, and she really is poorly.

0:48:150:48:18

It's frustrating because you know she does try her best, but,

0:48:180:48:22

for whatever reason, what goes in her head is stronger than what...

0:48:220:48:25

It's stronger than she is.

0:48:250:48:27

'Mood has varied today.

0:48:370:48:38

'I'm trying to cut down sugar from my diet, not only to lose some weight,

0:48:400:48:43

'but also for less chance of destabilising my mood.

0:48:430:48:46

'They are just waiting for a bed to become free.'

0:48:490:48:51

It's two days since Jade turned 18.

0:48:530:48:55

Jade's social worker, Tim,

0:48:570:48:59

is still waiting to be told if a bed will become available in an adult

0:48:590:49:02

unit, so she can moved.

0:49:020:49:04

Hi, Jade. Just had a phone call with the bed manager.

0:49:070:49:10

So we're still on hold.

0:49:100:49:12

As soon as I know something, I'll let you know.

0:49:120:49:15

OK?

0:49:150:49:17

I'm literally having to put my life on hold at the minute.

0:49:170:49:20

Can't make any plans.

0:49:200:49:21

It's all down to beds, discharges, emergency admissions.

0:49:210:49:26

How are you feeling?

0:49:280:49:30

A bit frustrated.

0:49:310:49:33

A bit worried. Still apprehensive.

0:49:330:49:36

Just longing out the process.

0:49:360:49:38

I'm glad I get to stay here a bit longer,

0:49:400:49:42

but it's still a bit annoying that I don't know when I'm going,

0:49:420:49:45

I don't know where I'm going.

0:49:450:49:47

-So, going to just use an ordinary bowl, is that OK?

-Yeah.

0:49:500:49:54

Thank you.

0:49:540:49:55

150.

0:49:550:49:58

Put that into there.

0:50:000:50:02

-Jade, I've just had a call from a unit...

-Yeah.

0:50:040:50:09

..and they have a bed available this afternoon.

0:50:090:50:11

Transport is going to be available around about half two,

0:50:110:50:15

OK? So, all a bit quick.

0:50:150:50:17

-Half-past two?

-Yeah.

-OK.

0:50:170:50:20

Thanks.

0:50:200:50:22

There's a bed free at two o'clock.

0:50:220:50:25

Well, there's a bed free now and transport's booked for two,

0:50:250:50:30

so I think that's it.

0:50:300:50:33

I don't know. That's all I really heard, to be honest.

0:50:330:50:35

-Are you in a bit of shock?

-Yeah.

0:50:370:50:40

I guess it's kind of, like, I knew I was going,

0:50:420:50:44

but I didn't know I was actually going until...

0:50:440:50:46

I was actually going.

0:50:470:50:50

How long have you got?

0:50:500:50:52

An hour?

0:50:520:50:54

I don't feel like I'm prepared...

0:50:540:50:55

..for anything.

0:50:580:50:59

This needs to go home to my mum, all of that needs to go home,

0:51:100:51:13

so I need a bin bag, preferably.

0:51:130:51:15

-Kiri.

-Hello.

0:51:210:51:23

Can you put that in the trolley whilst I get my stuff together?

0:51:230:51:25

Thank you.

0:51:250:51:27

Careful. Have you lost it?

0:51:270:51:29

I don't know how it can get lost but it was here.

0:51:300:51:33

Jesus Christ!

0:51:330:51:35

Come on, then, ladies, let's go.

0:51:360:51:39

Just the next step to where you need to be, yeah?

0:51:390:51:42

Take care, Jade.

0:51:420:51:45

Pretty much that.

0:51:470:51:49

It's going to be very different because you've got to get used to

0:52:000:52:03

different nurses,

0:52:030:52:06

a different system.

0:52:060:52:08

It's the fear of not knowing what's around the corner.

0:52:080:52:11

I want her to just lead a normal life,

0:52:130:52:17

go to college, go out with her friends,

0:52:170:52:20

do what everyone else her age is doing.

0:52:200:52:22

She should be happy,

0:52:220:52:26

and where she will be independent,

0:52:260:52:28

and whilst she's going to a hospital,

0:52:280:52:30

and I find that very hard.

0:52:300:52:33

It's a sad but happy day.

0:52:440:52:46

I've relied on hospital for a year of my life.

0:52:520:52:55

-Morning.

-Are you excited?

0:52:570:52:59

-Yeah.

-What time are you actually going?

-12.

0:52:590:53:02

People will probably be thinking, like, "Oh, you're going home,

0:53:020:53:06

"it's not that big of a deal,"

0:53:060:53:08

when, for me, it's like the biggest deal.

0:53:080:53:12

It's several banners, you cut it up.

0:53:150:53:17

You're an idiot.

0:53:170:53:18

Oh, sorry. Grace, go and get me some scissors.

0:53:190:53:22

-Please.

-She's been waiting for this day

0:53:220:53:24

and, now it's here, it's just a whole big ball of different emotions.

0:53:240:53:30

I just couldn't sleep.

0:53:300:53:31

I am going to be worried about Erin being on her own,

0:53:340:53:37

having access to all the things she had access to before.

0:53:370:53:41

She's still on her way to recovery.

0:53:410:53:44

Leaving hospital is just part of that recovery.

0:53:440:53:48

-Good luck, dude.

-Thank you.

0:53:480:53:49

-All the best, all right.

-Cheers.

-Good luck, Erin.

0:53:490:53:53

You've been amazing. You should be really proud of yourself.

0:53:530:53:56

Nearly there, Gracie.

0:53:570:53:58

The fact that Erin's coming home, like,

0:54:000:54:02

she's getting better, so it's making me feel better.

0:54:020:54:06

I desperately hope it goes well

0:54:060:54:08

because I can't cope another few months, it's already been a year.

0:54:080:54:13

It will have a major effect, I know it will on Mum,

0:54:130:54:15

I know it will on Dad, and it will definitely have a major effect on me.

0:54:150:54:18

I'm sorry, I can't keep it in!

0:54:530:54:57

Thank you.

0:55:120:55:14

See you.

0:55:240:55:27

Bye...

0:55:310:55:33

My face looks really fat in this.

0:55:450:55:47

-Yeah, so does mine, go for it.

-No, it doesn't!

0:55:470:55:49

Quick, before I lose my pout.

0:55:550:55:58

Recovery isn't perfect and I didn't want to recover for a long time.

0:55:580:56:02

But right now...

0:56:030:56:04

You know, I'm OK.

0:56:050:56:07

Will you always have a mental illness, Jade?

0:56:070:56:11

I feel like I will.

0:56:110:56:12

I hope that I won't,

0:56:120:56:14

but I'm probably going to be having psychology for the rest of my life,

0:56:140:56:18

and I'm OK with that.

0:56:180:56:21

I'm going to have moments when I'm not well and I relapse, but...

0:56:210:56:26

I've just got to pick myself up again, and that is my hope,

0:56:260:56:29

that I do that, that I keep picking myself back up and just

0:56:290:56:32

don't give up.

0:56:320:56:34

I know, put your notebook inside your folder.

0:56:360:56:38

-OK.

-That way, you won't need the extra...

0:56:400:56:43

Now I can be open and honest with my parents, I can tell them anything,

0:56:470:56:50

if I'm struggling.

0:56:500:56:52

I think if I hadn't gone into hospital...

0:56:530:56:55

..there's a possible chance

0:56:570:56:59

I may have taken my own life.

0:56:590:57:01

Which is...

0:57:050:57:07

..scary.

0:57:070:57:09

And you don't feel like that any more?

0:57:140:57:16

No, I feel completely different now.

0:57:160:57:20

What's changed?

0:57:350:57:37

I don't know.

0:57:370:57:39

Just...turned round.

0:57:390:57:41

I guess I'm just using the skills more,

0:57:430:57:45

rather than going to self-harm.

0:57:450:57:48

But you're still going to have these bad emotions,

0:57:480:57:50

but you've kind of got to let them pass,

0:57:500:57:52

they're not going to be there forever.

0:57:520:57:56

People need to realise that there's a lot of people like Jessica around.

0:57:560:58:01

Jessica's been quite extreme with her illness,

0:58:010:58:03

but there are a lot of children there suffering and struggling.

0:58:030:58:06

There seems a lot of pressure on particularly teenage girls these days,

0:58:060:58:09

the way they should look and the way they should behave

0:58:090:58:11

and the way they should be.

0:58:110:58:12

I don't know whether it's down to pressures of life or social media.

0:58:120:58:15

I think that's to the detriment of society, really, I think.

0:58:150:58:19

One in ten teenagers have a mental health problem. According to the NHS, there has been a 68% rise in hospital admissions relating to self-harm among young teenage girls in the past decade. This hour-long observational documentary follows three families whose daughters have been sectioned under the Mental Health Act to protect them from harming themselves. The teenagers are all being treated at Fitzroy House. Their detainment is indefinite and the film explores the impact on them, their parents and siblings who don't know when they will be allowed home.

All have had different journeys into Fitzroy House. Jade, 17, has been sectioned for 18 months and is hoping to be discharged from hospital before her 18th birthday. Her twin sister Megan struggles with Jade's illness and finds it difficult to visit her. Jess, 17, was first sectioned when she was 13 and has been to nine different hospitals around the country. She is one of a growing number of children sent away from her area for treatment and her parents Vikki and John currently make a 300-mile round trip to visit her every weekend. Erin, 16, is nearly ready to be discharged from Fitzroy House. Her mum Emma is desperate to have her home but the responsibility of keeping her safe terrifies her.

Told in their own words with directness and raw honesty, the film aims to remove shame and stigma surrounding mental illness as well as explore some of the pressures on young people growing up.


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