THE mother of a troubled teenager who took her own life has criticised mental health care, saying she was let down by the system.
Judi Toledo said her 17-year-old daughter, Libbi, would “maybe still be here” if she had received better support.
The teenager, who various mental health issues including autism and ADHD, was found dead in a scrapyard 10 days after she went missing from a residential care home.
Scotland’s Minister for Mental Health, Maureen Watt, has now been prompted to address concerns over the case directly.
She offered her personal sympathies to the family, saying that a probe is under way.
Ms Watt also stressed that plans are under way for Scotland’s first secure in-patient facility for under-18s.
Miss Toledo, who had needed specialist care from a young age, spent three days prior to her disappearance with family in Brechin in Angus, where her mother lives.
But shortly after returning to her residential care home she went missing. She was last seen on September 11 and her body was found on September 21.
Her mother said: “If she had got the help she needed then maybe she’d still be here.
“You know, we can’t guarantee that – but maybe she would still be here.”
Ms Toledo raised her concerns regarding mental health provision with NHS Tayside, Angus Council and the Scottish Government.
She said her daughter was “fun, creative, nurturing and loving” and that she remained close to her.
Her mother said she is “furious” that in-patient care was never considered.
She said: “There’s just so many things that are wrong in the system.
“I don’t think any parent should have to fight to get appropriate health care for their child.”
The Mental Health Minister said the Scottish Government is in the process of talking to families as it prepares a new mental health strategy.
She said: “The loss of Libbi Toledo at such a young age is a tragedy and my sympathies are with her mother and family.
“As is appropriate, there is a multi-agency investigation under way.
“We’re working to give every young person the right access to emotional and mental well-being support, particularly at times of crisis.”
Ms Watt added: “In addition, NHS Ayrshire and Arran, on behalf of all of NHS Scotland, is currently developing a plan for a secure in-patient care for under 18s.
“We’re engaging families, individuals and communities directly affected by suicide to develop a new suicide prevention action plan for publication next year. This will help us understand what could be done better or differently to reduce suicide and the awful impact it has.
“Through our Scottish Strategy for Autism we have funded an improvement programme to reduce waiting times for assessment and as part of our Mental Health Strategy we’ve started a national review of personal and social education including counselling in schools.”
There are 48 in-patient beds for children and young people with mental health problems in Scotland and some charities that work with people at the most extreme end of mental health issues say stories like Miss Toledo’s are not uncommon.
Sophie Pilgrim, a director of Kindred Scotland, told BBC Scotland the expertise was available but there was no facility to provide the appropriate level of care.
She added: “These children are simply not given the same proportion of support as other children are. There are really good professionals in Scotland, there is a lot of expertise, and we know how to care and support these children and to get good outcomes for them.
“So it’s not a problem – we have the treatments and the knowledge to support them. The problem is that we have put them at the back of the queue, simply because they have learning difficulties and autism.”
An NHS Tayside spokesman said: “Due to patient confidentiality, we are unable to comment on matters relating to individual patients.
“Every suicide is a tragedy and we offer our condolences to the family at this sad time.”
An Angus Council spokesman said: “While we do not comment on individual cases, the full circumstances around this tragic loss of a young life are currently under consideration by the relevant agencies, so as to establish whether it is appropriate to conduct a further review.”
Source : HeraldScotland