Day 16

After writing the blog last night, I could not sleep at all. Even on a good day sleep is hard to come by. I just lay in bed hearing myself breathe.

Today was a day of questions – How did he get this illness? How come no one could assess the seriousness of it? When did it really start? How deep was his suffering? How could he not know how dearly he was loved? How many other people are presently suffering like him?

As per the Office of National Statistics, every week there are 14 people in the age group of 19-25 years who commit suicide in the UK. Between 15-19 years of age, there are 4 suicides/week. That is an alarmingly high number for a country this size!

My son was 20. It is so difficult to write about him in the past tense.

Friends visited and were very generous with their time and sharing of ideas. Here are a few themes that emerged:

1. Mental illness is very poorly understood not just by lay people but also by medical professionals.

2. The NHS is under huge financial constraints which is putting the services under tremendous pressure and as a result patients are not getting good care.

3. The internet is not a good source of information for carers as most websites are too sanitised and don’t give you useful facts or guidance. There is no system within the NHS whereby carers can be supported.

So, in a nutshell, the doctors, the system and the families are lost when a young person falls ill with a potentially fatal illness and allow them to pass away within 10 weeks of a diagnosis.

We claim to live in a ‘developed’ country. Is it really?

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