THE mother of a 15-year-old girl, who has spent the last nine months suffering from anxiety and depression, has called for more support services after being given a hospital bed more than 180 miles away.

Mother-of-six and pub worker, Victoria Preston, said her daughter Elise was given a bed at a mental health hospital in Birmingham following a sudden deterioration in her mental health.

The Northern Echo:

Until recently the nearest facility would have been West Lane Hospital in Middlesbrough, but that closed in August after the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found "continued concerns" following the deaths of two 17-year-old mental health patients earlier this year.

Ms Preston, who lives in Saltburn, said Elise was receiving treatment at the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough following an overdose, when the suggestion to transfer her to a mental health unit was given.

Her mother told The Northern Echo: “She was saying she was going to do it again. She told me she wanted to die, she said she didn’t want to be here.”

On Saturday, October 5, Elise was transferred to The Priory in Birmingham, more than three-and-a-half hours away from their family home amid concerns that she would attempt to take her own life again.

Her mother said: “They said there was a bed in Birmingham – but there’s just nothing around here at all.

“There's a mental health unit in Newcastle and in York, but neither are in our region and are available.

“The Priory was the closest with any beds – the hospital said ‘if you don’t go there, you’ll lose the bed’ – it was awful.”

Ms Preston said it took almost four hours to reach the hospital, which she believed the distance contributed to the further deterioration of her daughter's mental health.

She said: “It was just making her worse – she was begging me to come and pick her up."

Ms Preston promised to visit every other weekend, but said she had concerns that she would be unable to afford the journey.

She said: "I told Elise I can go every other weekend but thought I can’t really afford to even go once a month – checked a hotel site and two nights was £250.”

Ms Preston also said that leaving it her had left her “heartbroken."

She said: "Elise rang me, cuddling photos of me and her siblings, it broke my heart. She was so scared and upset. She wanted to leave."

On Wednesday, October 9, Elise left The Priory in Birmingham after agreeing with doctors that her mother could provide 24-hour supervision at home.

However, Ms Preston called for more mental health services to be made available in the Tees Valley.

She said: "With her coming home she needs 24-hour care, she has intensive home therapy three nights a week.

"I can’t leave her. She’s got to go everywhere with me. It’s going to be a massive strain.

"I am checking on her through the night but I am not sleeping as I am afraid that something is going to happen.

"What petrifies me is that I could give her a £1 and she could go and kill herself with a £1."

Elise's mother added that she believed a mental health hospital in the surrounding area was desperately needed to provide accessible care for mental health patients.

In response to Ms Preston's calls, a spokesperson for NHS England North East and Yorkshire said: “We are working to increase capacity in CAMHS, in the North-East, following the recent CQC closure of West Lane hospital inpatient beds.

"Where it is clinically necessary for a young person to be admitted to a specialist bed outside of region, the focus is on ensuring they return to their home area as soon as possible.”

A GoFundMe page has since been set up by Ms Preston's friend, Victoria Lever to support the family.

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