The tearful boy said he was frightened he might hurt himself or others around him and asked for help as his mum tried to comfort and reassure him
A brave family has shared a harrowing video of their 10-year-old boy in torment in an attempt to find him the mental health support he desperately needs.
The youngster, referred to as James to protect his identity, tearfully pleaded for help to stop him from hurting himself or others in a heartbreaking video filmed by his mum Michelle.
James’ family, of Staffordshire, said his mental health has been in decline since the death of a relative six years ago and he has now started to have dreams in which he hurts people.
His devastated mum and aunt said he regularly talks about stabbing himself or jumping off a bridge but that he has never been seen in person or offered medication by Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
Instead, they are forced to rely on monthly Zoom meetings which they said have not restarted since their appointment was cancelled in November due to staff illness, reports Stoke on Trent Live.
Michelle, 44, told how she put her son’s bed in her room and wakes up “every time he rolls over” in case he tries to go downstairs in the night and hurt himself.
“I’m really frightened that I won’t have my little boy for much longer and that one day he will kill himself,” she said.
“He keeps saying he is worthless and just causes problems for the family. He says he wants brain surgery so he can have part of his brain removed and forget.
“He doesn’t feel like he can ever recover from this. He has lost hope and doesn’t want to be here anymore. He’s only 10. He shouldn’t be having these thoughts.”
When the family called the All-Age Access Team in desperation, they said they were told to “keep an eye on him” or take him to A&E.
They have even tried contacting their local council’s social workers and safeguarding team for help.
But Michelle said it feels like they are in a vicious circle where they keep getting sent back to CAMHS, run by North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust.
She added: “I tell him he’s my baby and so special to me, and that he is worthy to be here, because he is.”
“He is a lovely boy and so affectionate. I feel so sick and useless because he is pleading for help and I can’t get him the help he’s begging for.
James is currently waiting for an autism assessment through Caudwell Children and is only able to attend his mainstream school in the mornings due to his mental health.
He was initially offered bereavement support following the death of his grandmother but the sessions did not take place when the then four-year-old told counsellors he did not want to participate.
He also received 12 counselling sessions through his school but his family said they were told he needed more support than the charity were equipped to provide.
It was at this point when they did a self-referral to CAMHS and began meeting regularly with school staff to help his teachers “cope with him”.
They told how James can be disruptive in class by shouting out, climbing out of his chair and throwing things across the room.
He also exhibits tics such as rolling his head and shoulders, repetitive coughing, clearing his throat and excessive blinking and tends to walk on his tiptoes.
The little boy also talks obsessively about death and describes gruesome scenes in detail.
Aunt Amy, 47, said: “He loves destruction and disasters. He will talk about people falling out of planes, hitting the concrete and then getting run over by cars.
“He struggles with empathy and it doesn’t bother him if people get upset by hearing it – he just carries on.
“We don’t know where it has come from because he has never watched that kind of thing on television.”
James’ mental health deteriorated further during Covid lockdowns and homeschooling left him inconsolable.
Michelle said she has tried every parenting course she can find in an attempt to help her son who is academically bright but struggles socially.
James, whose older sister has autism, was assessed for the disorder and ADHD by CAMHS four years ago but the family were told he did not meet the criteria and he was discharged.
Since this summer, they have been having monthly Zoom meetings with CAMHS but feel their pleas for more urgent support are being ignored.
Amy said: “I just hope that by raising awareness we can help him in some way, which is why we filmed the video.
“We want to do everything possible to safeguard him and make sure his end goal doesn’t happen.”
North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust said they were unable to comment on individual cases.