Bring my son Stephen home & care for him in our community #bringstephenhome
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My son Stephen is 19 years old. I love him to bits but right now I am desperately worried for him.
He has autism and finds it hard to communicate. For over a year now he has been living in a unit at St Andrew’s Hospital, Northampton, which is 80 miles from our home in London.
He has learning difficulties but he is being kept under the mental health act at a psychiatric unit, with patients much older and with a range of different conditions.
He has the sweetest smile but since he has been there I haven’t seen it once. It's not the right place for him - even his consultant agrees he should not be on the mental health register and should be moved somewhere more suitable.
We have to travel miles each weekend to see him and sometimes we only see him for a few minutes, sometimes we travel all the way to see him, only to be told that we are not allowed a visit. And other times he has been put on so many drugs he just falls asleep. It's is heartbreaking to have to leave Stephen there. He is covered in bruises and has gashes all over his head from where he has hit himself from being anxious.
Right now the local authority is reviewing where to place Stephen. They want to move him to another hospital in Colchester but that won't solve anything.
We want Stephen to have a better quality of life; to be able to spend time outdoors, to be around his family more often. Ideally we want Stephen to live with us as a family with the support of carers. He should also be taken off the the mental health register, so he has more freedom for how he lives his life.
Other families who have loved ones with autism have successfully fought to have them live in homes with specialist carers near loved ones. And the Government made promises that people with autism and other learning difficulties should be cared for in their communities with the help of their families but this promise is being broken for Stephen.
Stephen is being let down by the institutions that are meant to be caring for him - locked up in a hospital and lost to a system that wants to tick boxes instead of care for my son.
Stephen deserves to be allowed to live a life in safe place with carers who understand his needs and surrounded by people that love him.
Please sign my petition and help my family but most of all help my son.
Today: Stephen is counting on you
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