My son was born with a genetic disorder and was very poorly for the first ten years of his life. He attended a special educational needs school from the age of two until when he was 16, where they helped him with his mobility and health. 

But after he left that school, his anxieties hit the roof. He couldn’t manage the transition to college, and was immediately put on antipsychotic medication. Despite that, he ended up leaving college after 18 months.  
There was no support for him, or for the rest of our family. Then at the age of 17, he was sectioned and diagnosed with autism and ADHD. 
He stayed for 10 months in an assessment and treatment unit and was discharged to a provider that supported him out in the community in a supported living flat. That lasted six weeks before the provider quit – as many do because there’s such a lack of support from the local authority.   

My son returned to the family home but in 2020 he was sectioned again, and this time he was sent to a forensic medium secure unit. A forensic unit is one that works with people who are in the criminal justice system, but my son has no convictions against him. So why is he being detained in a forensic unit with offenders under section 3 of the Mental Health Act? 

We travel every fortnight to visit him in the inpatient unit at the hospital. It’s so far away, it’s a five-hour journey to get there. And for all that travel, we are allowed just one hour with him, which is supervised by staff. 

He is still there, and the local authority are delaying a community package so he can finally move out. They say the hospital he is in at the moment is “very unique” and “much better for him.” But we disagree.

We are not involved in his care or included in any ward rounds or meetings to help move him towards being free. We have just appointed a human rights solicitor and are getting legal help from Mencap to get our son out, but as a family we are broken. We have to deal with the trauma and depression that comes from only being allowed to speak to our son for 10 minutes twice a day, and knowing he’s hundreds of miles from home. 

The time it takes to travel there and back to see my son is 5 hours. We would like a video call each week so we can see each other, but this has been denied due to a blanket restriction across the entire hospital.

Visit the No Freedom campaign page