THE mother of a teenager left severely brain damaged after attempting to take his own life says mental health issues must be talked about and are “not a dirty subject”.

Helen Barnes is fighting to get her 18-year-old son, Jack, into a specialist neurological rehabilitation unit after he hanged himself after leaving his home in Saundersfoot on the evening of March 4.

Police found Jack and revived him but he has now been in the intensive care unit at Withybush Hospital for 55 days.

Helen, who recently moved to Pembroke Dock – where the community have been “amazing” - said staff at the Haverfordwest hospital have been fantastic but Jack ready to begin his rehabilitation, which usually offers the best results within the first six months of injury.

“Jack was diagnosed about age 13 with borderline personality disorder, it came about after he overdosed twice,” said Helen.

After treatment and therapy Jack was signed off last year but was not transferred to adult services, leaving the family “in limbo”.

However, Jack was doing well, working hard at college and was top of his class, with no incidents for 18 months.

But the Monday before Jack’s suicide attempt he had self-harmed and Helen said she was provided with no contact details or advice for adult support from child mental health services.

“Who knows, had they referred me or given a helpline number, who knows? You can’t say this wouldn’t have happened.

“Everyone said I’m dealing with it really well and I’ve said ‘what’s the choice?’ I’ve dealt with his mental health for five years and had to accept what he’s done and do what’s best for my boy.

“Mental health problems are not a dirty subject anymore, they are not a family secret, and we have got to talk about it.

“This is the reality, this is mental health, this is what happens. If we can prevent just one kid from hanging themselves, for them to get help, there’s got to be some good that comes from this,” added Helen.

A gofundme campaign has already raised £1,200 to help Helen, a single mum, travel to visit Jack every day and to provide equipment to support him when he returns home.

“We are just taking it day by day at the moment.

“As long as he can have some sort of quality of life, if he can communicate his wants, needs and how he’s feeling. I will look after him 24/7, I couldn’t farm him out somewhere else,” said Helen, who is supported by Jack’s twin sister Lucy and their younger brother Jordan.

Helen said she has been overwhelmed by the support she has already received, both online and at home.

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