This week, I learned of the case of Kyle Gibbon, a young gentleman who - aged 18, was imprisoned in Carstairs Hospital for 8 years due to his learning difficulties and mental health. His mother has raised awareness of his case, as he has been locked up in hospital alongside some of the country’s most violent rapists and murderers. This has had a devastating impact on her son.
Kyle experiences ADHD, a learning difficulty that, when diagnosed and treated appropriately, allows individuals to live a full, happy and undisrupted life. I am appalled to hear of the institutionalization of Kyle and similar cases of young people locked away for mental health and learning difficulties.
That is why this week, I wrote to the Scottish Government’s minister for Mental Health, Claire Haughey. I asked her how many other young people are being treated like criminals for similar conditions. Moreover, I asked her to promise that moving forward, this response to diagnosis is not applied and young people – already experiencing difficulties – are not torn from their families and society and forced to be locked in institutions. This behaviour is unacceptable, a backwards step in the pursuit for inclusion and person-centred, individualized care and I am hopeful that this will not be a response in the future.
You can watch my interview with STV here.