South East London hospitals are being overrun by teenagers suffering psychotic episodes after taking spice.

So few beds are available that young people are being sent to hospitals over four hours away for treatment in places such as Weston-super-Mare, a mental health nurse has revealed. 

Ms Webley-Brown, who is also a Lewisham councillor, told of the shocking pressure spice use among teenagers is having on the NHS at a council meeting on June 29.

She said a shortage of mental health beds locally meant ill kids and teenagers were being ferried out of the capital for treatment. 

Describing the situation as ‘heartbreaking,’ Ms Webley-Brown told Lewisham’s Children and Young People Select Committee: “Accident and emergency departments are filling up with our young people who’ve taken spice and they’ve ended up having a psychotic episode which is very frightening for themselves as well as their parents. 

“There are very few young people’s beds.

"They’re often ferried out of area.

"The last bed that was had on Friday was in Weston-super-Mare. And things like that break my heart.

"We don’t have enough beds for adults let alone children when they really need it.” 

She said vulnerable kids were being brought into hospitals in handcuffs by the police under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act.

Ms Webley-Brown predicted the summer holidays when schools break-up would be a “nightmare” for local mental health services due to a lack of activities for young people.

She said: “They often come in under the 136, place of safety, but it’s the most frightening place to go in.

"Our children are being shackled, handcuffed at a time when they’re very very frightened and very very vulnerable… It’s going to be a nightmare six weeks holiday time because we haven’t got enough things to involve our children with and I’m very anxious.” 

Cllr Webley-Brown said Covid had caused a crisis in children’s mental health in the borough and said the council didn’t have the resources to deal with the fallout.

Social workers were handing out McDonalds vouchers to parents of children suffering from mental health issues to help them re-engage with their kids, she revealed. 

She said: “With Covid the mental health of our children, our young people, is at a crisis point.

"We haven’t got what they need and it is worrying me.

"I think the social workers are very stuck with what to do because they might be concerned but there’s very little they can do. 

"I know they’ve been giving vouchers to parents to take their child to, well the cheapest place they can take them is McDonalds, just so that they can try and engage again with their children.”

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