Parents 'heartbreak' of teenage daughter being treated at mental health unit miles away from home

John and Victoria Powell said being so far away from their daughter had been 'heart-breaking'. Credit: ITV News

With one in ten young people suffering from a mental illness, many inpatient specialist units are struggling to cope with the demand for their services.

Last week, ITV News contacted all 25 mental health trusts in England with in-house units for children in a 48-hour period and asked them how many beds they had available.

John and Victoria Powell's 15-year-old daughter Jessica initially struggled with an eating disorder but went on to self-harm and has made several suicide attempts.

She has spent the last few years being treated hundreds of miles away from home because of a shortage of beds locally.

Describing the family's experience, Mrs Powell told ITV News Health Editor Rachel Younger it was "heartbreaking" being apart from her daughter.

"I feel as though I've missed out on two and a half years of Jessica growing up."

"You get a phone-call at night and she's crying her eyes out and you're like 250 miles away and you know there's nothing you can do to help her."

They also said prior to Jessica's discharge last month, they had clocked up 55,000 miles driving to see her from their home in the south-west to hospitals as far as Manchester and Norwich.

John and Victoria Powell were sometimes forced to travel across the country to visit their daughter as she received treatment. Credit: ITV News

Despite the Government meeting its pledge to increase funding for mental healthcare, the Powell's believe the availability of beds for adolescents is getting worse.

Mr Powell said: "The problem is when your child relapses you can't guarantee where she's going to go.

"It depends on how many beds they have spare, if at all. Sometimes you can be waiting between eight and ten days to get a bed for her [Jessica]."