A Letter to My Son


SKU E-book Category

1000 in stock


By Gill Holt

ISBN: 978-1-78382-546-2
Published: 2020
Pages: 120


This book describes how the mental health system could not keep our son alive after his ten-year struggle with schizophrenia, despite the best efforts of countless caring professionals.

It recognises the most significant underlying issue being the need for mental health to receive a greater proportion of spending – an important message for politicians. And it identifies from a parent’s perspective key areas for improvement even within the current system, which should be of interest to mental health professionals.

Although there is no ‘happy ending’ there may still be some insights to help parents identify possible early signals of mental health issues in their children, and how to act – quickly.

This book documents our family’s experience in supporting our son through a 10-year struggle with paranoid schizophrenia.

It explains how difficult it is, in the early stages, of recognising that an illness is developing, and knowing what to do about it – and that this is compounded by the fact that the sufferer often does not want to admit to the illness, even to themself; also how, with a young adult, data protection law can significantly restrict parental influence on intervening; and how the involvement of the significant carer in the sectioning process under the mental health acts can introduce conflict between parent and child.

It highlights some weaknesses in how our mental health system seeks to provide a community care route to recovery – too little supported housing, excessively high caseloads for staff, lack of 24/7 cover, ineffective co-ordination and continuity across agencies to address the individual’s needs, and reliance on the police sometimes as the last resort.

It provides much evidence of the impact of under-investment in mental health, when compared with physical health, even though the two are so inter-dependent; also demonstrates that the mechanisms for agreeing funding for different intervention options can lead to less than optimum outcomes – both in clinical and financial terms.


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