‘Almost every day, she has threatened to jump’: Parents tell of anguish

North Bridge, Halifax: 'one day later and she's back there', said her dad
North Bridge, Halifax: 'one day later and she's back there', said her dad

A TROUBLED teen jailed for making suicide threats will end up dead unless more is done to help her, her adoptive parents have warned.

The 18-year-old girl was released from prison last week after repeatedly threatening to jump from North Bridge in Halifax.

The loving couple who adopted her when she was six say prison is not the answer and she needs psychiatric help – but claim doctors fail to recognise her mental health problems.

Her dad said: “We want her to go and have therapy at a secure unit where she can be properly assessed but they won’t do it because they say she’s normal.

“I honestly believe if something isn’t done, she will end up dead.

“Unless she has help we just can’t see a future for her.”

The girl was severely neglected by her alcoholic birth mother and suffers from reactive attachment disorder as a result.

It means she has a violent temper, the emotional age of a toddler and is unable to form close relationships.

She also suffers from attention deficit disorder, and her adoptive parents believe she may have foetal alcohol syndrome caused by her mother drinking during pregnancy.

They feel the system has washed its hands of her now she is an adult.

Her dad said: “Before she was 18, she had all the help in the world.

“She had support, child psychologists. Now, nothing. We can’t understand it.”

The girl was taken into care as a baby with her older sister, who is now in a secure psychiatric unit in the Midlands.

The couple believe she holds the key to their daughter’s diagnosis, but patient confidentiality has thrown up a brick wall.

“Surely that is the way forward, to find out what has happened to her sister, because she has probably got the same thing,” said her dad. The couple endured years of violence until their daughter turned 18, when they made the agonising decision to move her into supported housing.

Her mum said: “It was like living with a volcano always bubbling.

“We just couldn’t cope. We have both had breakdowns.”

The girl’s self-destructive behaviour began with self-harming and escalated to suicide threats.

“Every single day she was either calling police or paramedics to say she was drunk or had taken an overdose, but when she gets to hospital they do blood tests and find there is nothing there.

“Then it has advanced to North Bridge,” said her dad. The couple say she has threatened to jump off either the bridge, the flyover, or a disused mill in Boothtown almost every day since April when she moved nearby.

She has now been before Calderdale magistrates several times charged with wasting police time and causing a public nuisance.

Magistrates were sympathetic at first and dealt with her with community orders so she could get help.

But she was unable to comply with them and has now finished her second jail term.

Her family say prosecuting her is pointless, as her disorder means she is unable to grasp consequences.

“Every time she goes to court she says the right things, then a day later she’s back on the bridge,” said her dad.

“They are trying to punish her to make her learn – but she can’t.”

Her mum said: “Something has got to be done or she’ll end up dead. It’s as simple as that. The law of averages says it will happen eventually and it is escalating now.”

A spokeswoman for the South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are unable to comment it would breach patient confidentiality.

“We always encourage anyone who uses our services, their family or carers, to contact us directly so we can work with them and resolve any concerns.”

A council spokesperson said: “The council is required to maintain client confidentiality and is unable to comment on individual cases.

“Responsibility for the care of vulnerable young adults usually transfers from the Council’s Children and Young People’s Service to Adults Health and Social Care when the young person reaches the age of 18.

“Staff from both services liaise to ensure the needs of the person continue to be met. “