A STUDY has revealed young people in Essex in secure mental health units often feel powerless or ignored.

Healthwatch Essex is launching a unique report which reveals the experiences of young people in inpatient mental health units.

The study, which is believed to be the first of its kind in the county, reveals young people reported feeling ignored or powerless in their journey through services.

The report has been written by Hannah Fletcher who spent six months visiting a unit in Rochford.

The research revealed a number of patients’ conditions had been disclosed to their families, but not to them. This caused them to feel excluded from conclusions made about their health and not consulted on their personal experience.

The report also discovered delays in care that caused a deterioration in mental health to the point of crisis.

This was common and ranged from being because of waiting times through to the young person not seeking support because of fear of stigmatisation.

A number of patients who had initially entered the health system via A&E after experiencing mental health crisis were discharged after receiving no treatment or only treatment for physical injuries.

David Sollis, Chief Executive of Healthwatch Essex, said: “This report undoubtedly makes for difficult reading at times but we hope, in hearing these voices which are not commonly heard, the whole of the health and social care system in Essex can come to understand the needs of these young people more clearly.

“We are very grateful to the Poplar Adolescent Unit who facilitated our engagement with their patients and staff. Their hard work and devotion clearly makes a lasting impression on the lives of the young people they work with.

“We are hugely thankful to the young people whose voices are central to this report.

"We appreciate it can be difficult to talk about such personal and sometimes painful experiences but we are very grateful that they did, because it offers an opportunity for their experiences to shape the way services are designed and delivered in Essex in the future.”

To read the full report visit healthwatchessex.org.uk.