An East Antrim mother whose son is struggling with mental health issues and drug addiction has spoken of her “never ending nightmare”.
The woman, who did not wish to be named, has described the heartbreaking battle to help her “vulnerable and unpredictable” son, who is in his twenties and self harms and has attempted suicide on a number of occasions.
But she now fears she has exhausted all avenues of support and is at a loss for where to turn for help.
“No one knows what we as a family have been through the last 20 years with him,” she added.
“He has been diagnosed with a number of behavioural disorders, but in recent years his mental health has worsened and he now has a substance addiction.
“We have no rights to step in and do something because he is an adult. He knows what to say to health professionals to ensure he gets his own way, even if that is just getting them to shut up and go away.”
The desperate woman said she was “living from one minute to the next” and revealed the devastating impact the situation is having on her family on a daily basis.
“My son can be very violent, is regularly in trouble with police, has tried to kill himself on a number of occasions and he self-harms,” she added.
“He wrecks the house, smashes the place up, takes my money, puts his feet through doors and sets fire to the furniture.
“He regularly goes missing, and recently ended up sleeping rough in Belfast and getting beat up.
She added that her family was “lurching from one crisis to the next” and the situation has had a profound effect on her own mental health.
“I am a nervous wreck, constantly worrying about what the next crisis will be. I actually ended up in Holywell because I had a complete breakdown,” she told the Times.
“We as a family are at the end of our tether. Every possible health professional has tried to help him recently and he just lies to them, so their hands are tied.
“I know it is horrible to say, but he needs to be sectioned. What scares me the most is that some day I fear I am going to snap and end up hurting him or worse. I am at my wits’ end and do not know what to do. I have tried to get help from Social Services for years but have gotten nowhere.”
The Times contacted the Department of Health, but a spokesperson said they do not comment on individual cases.
The Department added: “Further, it is not the Department’s role to intervene in clinical decisions – these are the responsibility of the professionals in the relevant trust.”