“We needed some trained mental health workers to work with us but they weren’t there to do that… We were let down by everybody…”

Pippa McManus was just a normal girl, until she hit age 12 and started getting incredibly self-conscious about herself, her weight in particular. She began starving herself; this is when the obsession became really problematic and developed into anorexia.

At the age of 15 Pippa weighed a shocking 25kg, this is when she got admitted to The Priory Hospital in Altrincham in September 2014. The hospital discharged her after only a year, in December 2015 which her parents disagreed with as they knew their daughter hadn’t yet fully recovered from her illness. Five days after being released the 15-year-old stepped in front of a train, taking her own life. This was the result of a family argument about her exercising too much after which the teenager said “I’m going to kill myself now”, and left the house headed for Gatley Station.

Pippa’s death was determined to be a suicide and the care establishment that she got her treatment at got criticised for releasing the teen even though there was an incredibly high risk of suicide.

The girl’s parents claimed that Pippa had been fighting depression, anxiety, anorexia and self-harm for years and it was a nightmare because most of the time her mental illnesses were more powerful than her, often not letting her eat. She was also said to hate herself and wouldn’t allow anyone to tell her otherwise.

Although the teen was really determined to get her life back on track, anorexia always knocked her back down to rock bottom. The hospital described her anorexia as one of the worst case they had ever seen. She had a history of self-harm and on several occasions wrote suicide notes to her parents, friends and the hospital she was staying at.

Her parents were distraught by the fact that the mental health system would fail to appreciate how vulnerable their daughter was before they discharged her. This caused her to no longer be around professionals that could help her through any difficulties she may have been experiencing. This shows severe flaws within the mental health support system which could result in more tragedies such as this one if more care isn’t taken and miscommunication between victims of mental illnesses families’ and doctors continues.

The hospital director, Paula Stanford, expressed her sympathies for the family of the teenager, saying that they will carefully consider the findings of the jury.

Helpline and Websites:

  • Dedicated eating disorder charity: B-eat (Beat Eating Disorders) Helpline: 0808 801 0677.
  • Youthline: 0808 801 0711.
  • National Centre for Eating Disorders Helpline: 0845 838 2040 eating-disorders.org.uk
  • SEED (an eating disorder support service) Helpline: 01482 718130.
  • The Mix Provides essential support for the under 25s. Helpline: 0808 808 4994.
  • Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year.
  • Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.
  • PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.

 

 

 

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