Wife’s torment as husband sectioned for two years after freak accident at work


Sophie Stogden was pregnant with her now seven-year-old daughter, Alba, in June 2014, when her husband, Grant, had an accident at work

Grant, pictured with his wife, Sophie, and daughter, Alba,
Grant, pictured with his wife, Sophie, and daughter, Alba

A woman whose husband has been sectioned for two years has spoken out about the unlikely “trigger” that set him along a difficult road.

Sophie Stogden was pregnant with her now seven-year-old daughter, Alba, in June 2014, when her husband, Grant, had an accident at work.

Grant, 28, had been working as an operative in a metal factory and disaster struck when he accidentally dropped a 200kg steel bar on his foot.

He was rushed to A&E with a severely crushed foot but, thankfully, doctors were able to save it – though he was left requiring a partial amputation of his big toe, Yorkshire Live reports.

On the same day, Sophie went into labour with Alba.

The new parents had little idea that this eventful day would trigger the start of an emotionally fraught four years, and Grant would spend years of Alba’s childhood in and out of various psychiatric hospitals.

Recalling that fateful day in the summer of 2014, Sophie, 28, said: “It spiralled from there really, he had 12 weeks at home and couldn’t do very much and ended up in a very, very dark place.

Grant Stogden and his daughter, Alba, as a baby
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“He wasn’t able to work or feed the baby or do day-to-day tasks and it got to him. She was three-months-old when he had his first referral, which was a four week stay in a psychiatric hospital.”

“He had no prior mental health [issues], well he had no knowledge of previous mental health [issues] prior to his accident at work, that was a trigger.”

Between late 2014 and into 2016, Grant had a further three psychiatric hospital admissions, each lasting between four and six weeks at a time.

All of these were self-referrals, Sophie added, where Grant had been able to recognise that he was in need of some mental health support and request that he be treated in hospital as an in-patient.

But, in the latter stage of 2017, he and his family’s life changed in a vast way.

Grant was sectioned under the Mental Health Act and sent to live in a secure unit in Doncaster, 20 miles away from his home in Pontefract, West Yorkshire.

Sophie said: “The first few admissions weren’t so bad, he self-referred and we put him into hospitals ourselves, he was never taken from us, we drove him to the hospital ourselves because he’d get to a point where he couldn’t function at home.

“But then he, acutely, got very, very poorly, very quickly and the hospital he was in couldn’t cope with him so he went to a different one and he eventually ended up in a secure unit in Doncaster.”

Grant spent two years on a section and had also spent six months prior to this on a voluntary admission, which meant that he had been living away from his family for a two-and-a-half year period.

Grant, Sophie and Alba during a visit to hospital one Christmas
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In total, his time in and out of hospitals meant that he spent nearly four years living away from his wife and his little girl, which Sophie said was “exhausting” at times.

Though her dad spent a large portion of her childhood living away from home, Alba was still able to forge a strong relationship with him and saying goodnight to her daddy on FaceTime became just a normal part of her day. As did going to visit him in hospital.

Sophie said: “If you look at it from an outside perspective, taking a three-year-old to a psychiatric unit sounds terrifying, but it had to be done for the sake of our family unit.

“And, if anything, it’s given her a different perspective on life; she might only be seven now, but her understanding of mental health is something else.”

For Alba, Grant has never been anything but her dad and Sophie said that he has always been careful to shield her from anything that could be scary for her.

“She hasn’t ever had to see him as anything other than dad, which is why he would put himself in hospital: because it got to the point where home wasn’t safe and that’s Alba’s home, so it has to be safe”, Sophie said.

During his multiple stays in hospital, Grant was diagnosed with a number of challenging mental health conditions, many of which required intense psychotherapy and, on occasion, medication.

“[The doctors] have gone down the depression and anxiety route, then he was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder,” Sophie added.

If you are affected by this story there are many people who would be happy to talk to you:

Samaritans

If you need to talk and don’t know where to turn to, the Samaritans operate a free helpline open 24/7 on 116 123. Alternatively you can email [email protected] or visit the website to find your local branch.

SANEline

If you or somebody you know is experiencing a mental health problem, SANEline’s helpline is open between 4.30pm and 10.30pm every day on 0300 304 7000.

Mind

The mental health charity Mind has resources aimed at helping you cope with and plan for a crisis. Visit their website for details on helplines, how to access crisis services and what to do if you’re unable to get help yourself.

*In an emergency, dial 999 for urgent help

“He’s not present when he goes into his episodes, which is what I’ll call them, whereas someone who’s schizophrenic is aware and he’s not aware of it at all,” Sophie said.

Though it was a long and difficult journey, Grant has now been home with his wife and daughter for just over two years.

He has also returned to work and the family are looking ahead to the future.

Sophie said: “We’ve come out of the flipside of it, we know that admittance is something that could happen again and he’s not medicated.

“He got discharged nine months ago from community mental health services so, at the moment, we’re doing it alone and he’s doing good.”

Little Alba has made it her personal mission to fundraise for mental health services in honour of her brave dad.

Last year, when she was just six years old, she took on a 100-mile walking challenge to raise money for Samaritans and ended up raising thousands of pounds.

Sophie said: “Alba doesn’t see the stigma of mental health like an adult does, she sees her daddy.

“She now wants to change the conversation, she wants to change the way people talk about it.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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