A teenager has started a petition after waiting months for an appointment with mental health experts.
Matthew Collett-Leslie, 14, of Catsfield Close, St Leonards, has been waiting more than four months for an appointment at St Anne’s Centre in Hastings.
He approached CAMHS, children and young people’s mental health services, with the hope he will be diagnosed with autism.
Now the 14-year-old has started a petition, with the support of his father Joe, as the wait for an appointment has started to affect his school and home life.
Matthew said: “It has affected me by not getting the help and support I need at school as teachers and students do not understand me.
“Because of students not understanding me they do pick on me, as some say bully me.
“At home as I am not getting the help it has caused stress with my dad as he has no help himself as I am not diagnosed yet.
“This is why I am doing the petition to decrease waiting times and get the help other children, like myself need.”
Matthew’s father Joe, described the situation as a ‘nightmare’.
“I’m trying my best waiting for CAMHS to come back,” he said.
“He’s been trying to get a diagnosis since he was about 11. They are taking forever. There is no support or help at all. I’ve had to go part time at work.”
A spokeswoman for Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We can’t comment on individual cases but we can and do appreciate the anxiety waiting for assessments associated with any condition causes, not just for the patient but their family and relatives too.
“Assessments for autism involve several stages with a number of different professionals because the symptoms are complex and often confused with other conditions.
“There has also been a significant rise in the number of referrals to us which has added to the pressures on our services. It is a key national priority to reduce the wait and we are working with other NHS professionals who commission our services to look at the delays and help and support that is currently available for children and young people who do need a formal autism assessment or experience some of the difficulties associated with autism to see what more can be done.”
Between April and May 2015, Healthwatch East Sussex investigated access to Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) for children and young people. The organisation sought the views of children and young people, finding waiting times ‘could be improved’. However young people said they received excellent support adding sessions with staff were ‘great’.
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The Hastings Observer