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Mother of imprisoned bipolar sufferer from Stoke Newington calls for support for carers

PUBLISHED: 12:18 07 September 2011

Linda Morgan outside Hamdy's newsagent in Stoke Newington High Street, which is supporting her campaign. Credit Lauren Paraskeva

Linda Morgan outside Hamdy's newsagent in Stoke Newington High Street, which is supporting her campaign. Credit Lauren Paraskeva

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The mother of a mentally ill man who spent his 21st birthday in prison on Tuesday (Sep 6) has revealed she feels ‘abandoned’ by Hackney’s psychiatric services.

Linda Morgan, 56, called for more support for the carers of adults with mental health conditions.

Her son Joe Paraskeva, of Stoke Newington, is currently serving an indeterminate sentence at Chelmsford Prison after trying to set fire to a door at Homerton Hospital’s Joshua Ward.

He suffers from bipolar disorder and had gone to the hospital voluntarily two days earlier when he was sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

He cannot be considered for parole until he has served two years in prison.

Linda, who launched the Justice for Joe campaign calling for his release, has not seen Joe since he was sentenced for arson on April 14 and fears he is not receiving proper healthcare.

“As a carer I feel completely let down and abandoned by the local psychiatric services,” she said.

“Because Joe is an adult I no longer have any rights, I feel.

“We were supported as a family by the child and adolescent mental health services from 2007, wonderfully. I continued to receive support in a carers support group until Joe was discharged in June 2010 as he had been with the mental health services for three years. I then had no support. Joe had no care worker. We were alone.”

Linda now relies on Hackney Carers’ Centre, based in Tyssen Street, Dalston, and says carers of mentally ill adults should receive more NHS help.

Ben Hibberd, mental health lead at the centre, agreed, saying the transition between adolescent and adult psychiatric services was often traumatic for mentally ill people and carers.

Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of mental health charity SANE, which is backing the Justice for Joe campaign, said the organisation was regularly contacted by carers feeling “isolated”.

“We are concerned about the thousands who care for those with mental illness, especially as the cuts to local services bite.”

A spokeswoman for East London NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Hackney’s psychiatric services, said it already provided a wide range of support.

“The Trust has been in contact with Mrs Morgan and will continue to try to resolve her complaints and concerns around the management of her son’s case,” she said.

For more information on the Justice for Joe campaign or to send Joe a birthday card, go to www.justiceforjoe.org.uk.


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