Tragic teen’s mother hits out at lack of help for her daugh­ter

Care: Chil­dren with men­tal health is­sues are not get­ting what they need, says mum

The Courier & Advertiser (Dundee Edition) - - NEWS - STe­WarT alexan­der

The An­gus mother of tragic Fife teenager Libbi Toledo has said her daugh­ter “would still be here” if she had re­ceived the help she needed.

Libbi, 17, was found dead on Septem­ber 21 in Kirk­caldy, 10 days af­ter go­ing miss­ing from se­cure ac­com­mo­da­tion.

The teenager, who had se­vere men­tal health is­sues in­clud­ing autism and ADHD, had spent three days prior to her dis­ap­pear­ance with fam­ily in Brechin, where her mother Judi lives.

For­mer Brechin High pupil Libbi had re­turned to the res­i­den­tial care home in Kirk­caldy the day be­fore she went miss­ing.

“If she had got the help she needed then, maybe she would still be here,” said Judi. “We can’t guar­an­tee that but maybe I wouldn’t have had to plan a funeral last month.”

By the time she was at nurs­ery, the staff flagged up be­havioural dif­fi­cul­ties and Libbi was as­sessed for ADHD but never di­ag­nosed.

She spent time in care be­cause of her chal­leng­ing and some­times vi­o­lent be­hav­iour.

At the age of 14, she ran away from her foster carer and at­tempted to take her own life. Libbi was not di­ag­nosed with autism un­til af­ter her sui­cide at­tempt.

Her mother said she can­not un­der­stand why her daugh­ter was not ad­mit­ted to a men­tal health pro­vi­sion. She said she was “fu­ri­ous” that in­pa­tient care was never con­sid­ered.

Judi told BBC Scot­land: “Se­cure ac­com­mo­da­tion is never good enough for peo­ple who need to be in a psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tal. Se­cure ac­com­mo­da­tion is suc­cess­ful in be­ing able to pre­vent the dan­ger­ous be­hav­iours but it does not ad­dress the root cause.

“I don’t think any par­ent should have to fight to get ap­pro­pri­ate health care for their child. Kids are not get­ting the help they need.”

Scot­land has no se­cure in­pa­tient psy­chi­atric care for chil­dren, un­like Eng­land.

There are only 48 in­pa­tient beds for chil­dren and young peo­ple with men­tal health prob­lems in the en­tire coun­try.

There is also no spe­cial­ist psy­chi­atric pro­vi­sion for chil­dren with autism.

The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment said it was con­sid­er­ing pro­pos­als for a foren­sic se­cure in­pa­tient fa­cil­ity in Ayr­shire and Ar­ran.

Pic­ture: Kris Miller.

Judi Toledo feels her daugh­ter Libbi may still be here if she had been given the help she needed. Libbi Toledo was found dead in Septem­ber.

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