Grieving North Belfast mother says ‘failed’ by mental health services after daughter’s death

a mourning North Belfast my mom claims she was “failed” by her healthcare after multiple mental health appointments were cancelled.

In February of this year, Kirstie Dallas was devastated after she lost her four-year-old daughter, Esme, whom she cared for 24 hours after she was born with a rare and life-limiting genetic disorder.

Kirstie says her daughter has struggled all her life to get the treatment she needs, a potentially life-saving surgery that was canceled in 2019 and was never delayed again.

The 28-year-old mother felt “failed” by Esme. Belfast Trust and now, following her death, Kirstie feels she has “failed” with her mental health support as well.

Esme said that over the past six months, although Esme has been able to receive some bereavement support from the nursing home, she has had trouble accessing other mental health services with multiple appointments being cancelled.

She told Belfast Live she felt “handicapped” by “addictive drugs” like diazepam, which Kirstie didn’t want to take because it could affect her ability to care for her six-year-old.

Kirstie said, “After Esme died, I felt like my whole world had collapsed on me.

“I tried to focus on caring for my son and making sure he was well taken care of, but my anxiety and stress have gotten to the point where I have a hard time dealing with it. But that’s how I feel when I try to seek help.” I’m being ignored and no one seems to care.

“People always say this. ‘It’s okay not to be well’ but when you really get some support, no one wants to know.

“While the grief support I received from the hospice after Eşme’s death was excellent, I experienced nothing but disappointment when trying to access other mental health support.

“For the past six months, I’ve been told I’ve had a face-to-face appointment with a community mental health nurse every week, but during that time I only had five appointments, and they were often canceled very quickly. It got to a point where I spent the mornings of those appointments trying to find out if they could be canceled again. “

Kirstie feels that the treatment she receives from the mental health service only “prolongs the inevitable” because instead of supplements she is given drugs like diazepam to help her in life so she doesn’t have to take medication. want.

He continued: “When I manage to get a date that doesn’t get cancelled, I feel like they want to throw me drugs and hope I go.

“The anti-depressants given to me made me sick as a dog, and diazepam is something I really don’t want to be a part of.

I don’t want to be a mother in their own little world as they are diazepam addicts, I want to be fully alert and active to help my son.

“There are times when I think I’d get a lot more support if I was a drinker or drug addict because these people seem to take precedence over someone trying to live a clean and healthy life for their child. I’ve been told this week that I’m not seen as an immediate priority.

“The Belfast Trust failed my daughter during her short life and now they are doing the same to me again and I will not be the only parent to feel devastated by this system.”

A spokesperson for the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust said: “The Belfast Trust cannot comment on individual cases, but we strive to ensure that every patient is treated with compassion and sensitivity, and we continue to ensure that all service users receive the appropriate level of care and intervention.”

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