Painful memories may lead to opening of the Shop of Hope

Matthews Yard hosted a packed charity benefit gig last night, where a moving reflection was heard from a Purley resident about her son’s suicide, as Patti Boyle sought backing to try to avoid other mothers losing their children in such a manner by providing a safe haven for those suffering mental health crises.

The Shop of Hope will offer a more viable alternative as a refuge for those in crisis than the Accident and Emergency department of a local hospital.

The ambition is to set up a base with a resource of information for those suffering from depression or other mental health issues, and their parents or carers. It will also have a recovery room with a counsellor. Both art and music therapy could also be offered.

The event came just two days after a 10-minute rule bill debate was held in the House of Commons led by Dr William McCrea MP to draw attention to how prevalent suicide is and to the dangers and relatively easy availability of “suicide packages” on the internet.

At the Surrey Street meeting, Patti Boyle spoke of the loss of her son, Kevin, and how she welcomed that both parliament and the South London and Maudsley Trust were listening to the concerns she was raising.

She spoke of the suicide kit that had been sent to Kevin from the internet, and of the 101 days that she and her family had to wait before the discovery of her son’s body by Farthing Down.

On any average day in the UK, as many as nine men take their own lives, leaving behind their families to grieve.

She spoke from the heart to those who might seek escape through suicide of how “there is no deliverance in death” and how as a mother she “was buying a coffin instead of a morning suit for a wedding, arranging a wake not a wedding reception”.

Kevin Boyle had suffered from the long-term trauma of abuse as a young child from outside the family. Patti Boyle said she felt that the courts system had let Kevin down.

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One Response to Painful memories may lead to opening of the Shop of Hope

  1. There are a lot of things to be said here, and I’m probably not going to even try to get them into any order of priority, so take your pick of the following:

    (and I have no affiliation with any of the people or organisations here)

    * Matthew’s Yard Café is a fantastic place… definitely individual, slightly Bohemian, certainly not corporate, why would anyone give their money to ****bucks when they have this gem on their doorstep?

    * The current state of support for people in Croydon who have mental health needs is dire, and those who claim they are delivering an acceptable level of care should curl up with the shame of their shortcomings. Several boroughs rely on SLaM (the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust) to deliver mental healthcare but, when I looked at the 2010/11 figures, Croydon was the clear leader in the we-couldn’t-give-a-flying-fig charts: Expenditure per capita per annum… Lambeth £299, Lewisham £271, Southwark £249 and… wait for it… Croydon £161.

    * Setting up the Shop Of Hope is an enormously well worthwhile project but, sadly, I think it is also an almost impossibly big one. Effectively, the intention is to replace SLaM’s it’s-not-working system with a smaller, more efficient and effective, peer-led service which, were it to succeed, would far exceed anything that SLaM has aimed for, far less achieved.

    * My personal story is that, when I had my first major breakdown, the Priory, funded by workplace insurance, turned me around in eight weeks. Since my second breakdown, I have lost eight years of my life… changing from suffering acute clinical depression, anxiety and stress, to suffering all that, but in an acute and chronic way. And in those eight years, I have lost almost everything that I valued, including my career, and have, instead of being a high-rate tax payer, become a long-term benefits claimant. Anyone with a pocket calculator must realise that the failure to meet my medical needs in a timely manner has cost both me and the tax-payer a fortune.

    Whilst I wish the project every success, and fervently believe that something like this is vitally needed, I fear that the ambition is too big. Maybe an effective first step would be to publicise the incompetence of both SLaM and Croydon Council in terms of their duty to provide appropriate levels of care and support. Then to either campaign for reform, or to demand that the money currently paid to those at the top of this particular food-chain, is recovered and re-invested in this project (and others) which work hard, against all odds, to try to hold to account those currently in power.

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