The mother is having to travel from Cornwall to Bristol every weekend and camp in a tent so that she can see her mentally ill daughter at the hospital. The woman has also had to travel as far as Sheffield, just because there are no appropriate and suitable facilities at Cornwall. She said she hopes the new £11m mental health unit facility that has been built for teenage children will help people like her daughter. Cornwall Foundation NHS Trust said the structure was built with a sole aim of putting a stop to families having to travel long distances to visit their children and relatives. The mother, who did not want her name to be stated said: “It’s was always an emotional journey when going back home after each visit. “Simply saying goodbye to my dear daughter and then leaving her thousands of kilometers away is so difficult to take and at the same time tough on her – it’s draining me physically and emotionally. She finds it heartbreaking and saddened whenever I’m going home without her. It was never getting any more comfortable.”
She has been driving up to Plymouth, Sheffield and just recently Bristol and back every weekend for the past seven months.
She said the campsite in Bristol was “literally a grassland with a Portaloo.” “One particular weekend it was so cold I had to use two sleeping bags coupled with a jumper and woolly hat all at once, and the sleeping bag covered my head, i was shivering, you know, I was totally freezing,” she said. “Whenever I tell my friends my ordeal, all they get to say is, we can’t believe that you have to live like this just to see your ill-daughter.” “To be honest actually, I can’t believe i am doing this either. But this is the only feasible way I get to be with and spend some valuable time with my daughter.” The Cornwall Foundation Trust, which monitors and controls mental health services in the neighborhood of Cornwall, said the 14-bed Sowenna accommodation unit for under-18s would be accepting its first patient on 9 September. “Our sole aim is to remove the point of families having to travel thousands of miles each year just to visit their children and also to provide world-class facilities in Cornwall that will provide the necessary treatment for children and also improve recovery times,” it said. NHS Trust chief executive Phil Confue admitted the mother’s story was one that “makes you emotional, and it also breaks your heart.” He said: “It’s regrettable and painful that anyone has to go through this. The fact they have to travel thousands of kilometers to get here is shocking. We need to be able to deliver these health services locally.”
William Kellogg is a veteran writer who’s covered the subject of the intersection of technology, health and mental wellness for nearly two decades.