Girl ‘felt like caged animal’ during four-year stay at mental health hospital

A teenage girl has described how she felt "like a caged animal" during her four year stay at a mental health hospital.

Faith Wilthew, now 18, was admitted to crisis-hit West Lane Hospital in Middlesbrough at the age of 14.

She claims she was told it was her "own choice" to self-harm and that staff offered no support when she displayed the troubling signs.

Her mum Kelly also described how on one visit to Faith, she saw blood on the walls, before staff allegedly said it was "her choice" to repeatedly hit her head against them.

Twenty staff members have been suspended from the mental health facility over claims they used "non approved" techniques to move patients, reports the BBC .

The Care Quality Commission is overseeing an investigation at the hospital after concerns were raised in November that staff were moving patients in ways "not taught and not in line with trust policy".

Faith went on to explain how she was sometimes lifted from a bed by her feet and hands before being dropped to the floor and restained.

She said: "I felt like a caged animal. Most of the time I just felt like I was imprisoned somehwere. I went in there at 14 with not a scar on my body and I came out at 18 full of scars.

"I was just told it was my own choice if I wanted to self-harm.

"Sometimes they would lift me off my bed by my hands and feet and just drop me onto the floor and restrain me. Things need to change."

Faith’s mother Kelly fought to get her daughter home after her she was sectioned.

Kelly described how on one visit to Faith, she noticed blood covering the walls after Faith had allegedly been left to hit her head against it for three days.

The worried mum said: "At one point she started banging her head against the wall.

"She did it for about 72 hours and they told her that it was her choice if she wanted to go on doing that.

"When I went in to see her there was still blood on the wall."

Elizabeth Moody, Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust’s director of nursing, said: "The care and safety of all our service users is our first priority and we expect our staff to show respect for their dignity and well-being.

"We take any allegations that could suggest otherwise extremely seriously.

"Our staffing levels are reviewed on a twice-daily basis by senior clinical leaders to ensure the quality of care delivered to the young people at all times."

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