Mother’s heartache after nine-year-old son’s suicide attempts

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A mother has spoken out about her heartbreaking struggle to access help for her nine-year-old autistic son who has twice tried to commit suicide.

Kerry O’Rourke claims she was left with nowhere to turn for support for her son Finn until her MP Rosie Winterton stepped in.

The youngster was diagnosed with high functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder when he was six and Mrs O’Rourke said she has faced a constant battle to get her son the help he needs.

But after contacting Doncaster MP Rosie Winterton for help, Mrs O’Rourke said her son’s life has been saved.

The Bessacarr Primary School pupil tried to kill himself for the first time by hanging himself, when he was aged just seven.

Mrs O’Rourke, aged 38, of Brimham Close, Kirk Sandall, said: “It was on the last day of the six-week holiday.

“He had gone up to bed and then we heard his sister scream.”

“It was absolutely horrific, even now when I talk about it’s like it’s not real, I can’t believe it really happened.”

Mrs O’Rourke’s daughter Izabella, who was 10 at the time, had to undergo a year of counselling.

Mrs O’Rourke said: “After that I made an emergency appointment with the team at Doncaster Children and Young People’s Mental Health Service and I was told that this was relatively normal for someone who had his condition to have these kind of thoughts.

“I felt as if they weren’t taking me seriously, it’s like they didn’t want to know, they just made me feel like a hysterical mother who was overreacting.”

On another occasion last year Finn was standing on the windowsill of his bedroom window threatening to jump.

His mum said: “When I contacted CAMHS they advised me to put a lock on the window, I just couldn’t seem to get through to them.”

Mrs O’Rourke said she was at her wits’ end when she contacted her MP Rosie Winterton for help.

“I didn’t know where else to turn so I went to Rosie’s surgery and after the very first appointment she was sending letters and speaking to people to try and help us.

“Since Rosie got involved Finn has got one to one support at school and CAMHS have been a lot more supportive.

“Finn is doing so much better, it’s like he’s a different lad.

“It’s like we’ve all got our lives back.

“If Rosie hadn’t got involved I think I’d still be fighting a losing battle.”

A spokesman for Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust which oversees CAMHS said: “We have already apologised to Mrs O’Rourke and apologised again.

“To respect patient confidentiality we are not able to respond specifically to the detail of the issues but what we can assure is that Mrs O’Rourke’s concerns were raised with us and we immediately put steps in place to improve the service she and her son receive from us.

“We always try our best to meet our patients’ and their families’ expectations and if Mrs O’Rourke has any further questions or concerns about CAMHS we would ask her to contact us.”

Rosie Winterton said: “I’m glad I was able to help Kerry with her case.”