Published: May 27, 2019

'I've lost 24 friends to suicide'

Natasha has battled with anorexia and self-harm from the age of 12 and spent 10 years in mental health units across the country.

She was initially not referred to CAMHS, an oversight she says made her condition worsen.

When she was finally referred, suffering from anorexia and beginning to self-harm, she was too ill for community care and was admitted to a specialist inpatient unit.

She was to spend most of the next decade in units dotted around the country, many of them privately-run, with her fees paid for by the NHS.

Natasha said: "My commissioner, who was a lovely woman, referred to me as the million dollar baby because they (private providers) made millions out of the NHS for my care."

Her low point came in 2012 when she was admitted to a hospital in Maidenhead, run by private care provider, where she was supposed to be under one-to-one supervision to prevent self-harm.

Click on the link below to hear Natasha describe her experience in her own words:


Every year tens of thousands of under-18s in England are referred to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, known as CAMHS.

The most unwell are sent to "tier four" in-patient mental health units, many of which are privately-run but paid for by the NHS to provide specialist treatment.

Children are often placed in units many miles from home and family because of a shortage of appropriate services in their local area.


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9th September 2020

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