The Launch: Why, Where & How Long

We are pleased to announce the launch of the next Seven Days of Action campaign. It starts on Monday 10th October and will run for the whole week. The week will also see the launch of the 7 Days of Action website, which we hope will be a valuable resource.

The focus will be once again, the human stories of life in ATUs & In-patient services. We hope to keep the pressure on and get people into homes of their own.

We still need to hear peoples’ stories. We want to hear about the type of treatment that is given. We want to hear about how families are treated whilst their loved ones are detained. We want to hear about day to day life in the Units. We want to know what life is like after discharge – do the wounds heal?

We’ve been contacted by lots of people since April. Each desperate to tell their story and get their family member home. We asked everyone, the same three questions:

1. What led to you/your family member being detained in an ATU?

2. How long were you/your family member detained for?

3. How far was the ATU from your usual home?

For today’s launch, here is a role call of 35 human beings.  None of them have committed a crime. Some have been released; several are still detained with no release date on the horizon. Some names have been changed as protection from repercussions:


1. Breakdown in residential home placement.

2. 17 months.

3. 230 miles.


1. Breakdown in transition from children’s to adult services.

2. 8 months (ongoing).

3. 25 miles.


1. Breakdown of residential school placement.

2. 3 years, 7 months (ongoing).

3. 70 miles.


1. Review of medication.

2. 8 months.

3. 140 miles.


1. Breakdown in specialist autism placement

2. 2 years, 3 months

3. 235 miles


1. Mother requested support in the home.

2. 3 years + (Thomas died in the Unit).

3. 80 miles.


1. Reaction to medication changes & breakdown of residential placement.

2. 19 months.

3. 100 miles.


1. Incident in the community.

2. 2 years.

3. 10 miles.


1. Treatment for physical condition.

2. 5 years (ongoing)

3. 100 miles.


1.  Lack of education/support services in local area.

2. 10 months.

3. 67 miles.


1. Went to respite for 3 days as father was ill & moved a day later to ATU.

2. 358 days.

3. 1 mile.


1. Assessment for help with self harming.

2. 20 months (ongoing).

3. 56 miles.


1. Respite whilst father had operation.

2. 5 years, 3 months (ongoing).

3. 300+ miles.


1. Breakdown of education placement.

2. 2 years.

3. 15 miles.


1. Lack of local support for challenging Behaviours.

2. 4 years (ongoing).

3. 250 miles.


1. Moved from respite whilst mother in hospital.

2. 2 years, 6 months (ongoing)

3. 15 miles


1. Went for temporary respite whilst home adaptions took place.

2. 10 months (ongoing).

3. 5 miles.


1. Bespoke support needed.

2. 22 months.

3. 45 miles.


1. Period of unsettled behaviour.

2. 9 months

3. 170 miles.


1. Breakdown of school placement.

2. 16 months.

3. 60 miles.


1. Breakdown of supported living placement.

2. 14 months.

3. Close to home.


1. Home support agency withdrew contract.

2. 2 years, 10 months (ongoing).

3. 145 miles.


1. Lack of education/home support.

2. 8 years (ongoing).

3. 170 miles.


1. Breakdown of school placement.

2. 10 months (ongoing)

3. 45 miles.


1. Family became homeless.

2. 1 year, 4 months (ongoing).

3. 155 miles.


1. Supported living provider withdrew from contract.

2. 1 year, 10 months (ongoing).

3. 95 miles.


1. Mother was ill and asked for some respite.

2. 1 year & 4 months (ongoing).

3. 30 miles.


1. Group home closed.

2. 3 years & 6 months.

3. 160 miles.


1. Lack of local support services.

2. 107 days (died through neglect in the unit).

3. Close to home.


1. Group home closed after failed inspection.

2. 14 months (ongoing).

3. 27 miles.


1. Abuse at supported living placement.

2. 20 months (ongoing).

3. 82 miles.


1. Breakdown of school placement.

2. 7 months (ongoing)

3. 110 miles.


1. For short term assessment to assess needs for Transition.

2. 2 1/2 years (ongoing)

3. 200+ miles.


1. Mother held in immigration detention centre.

2. 2 years, 10 months.

3. 260 miles.


1. Breakdown in home support package.

2. 10 months (ongoing).

3. 235 miles.


1. Lack of appropriate local services.

2. 4 years.

3. 300 miles.

If you want us to include your story in the October 7 Days of Action (by name or anonymously), please contact us on:


Twitter: @Ofaction7


Or leave a comment here on this blog.

Many thanks.

A Snapshot

On the 7 Days of Action Facebook group, we have been collecting short but very powerful snapshots to be included during the September campaign.

The snapshot asks three questions. They can cover people who have been discharged or are still detained:

  1. How did your family member come to be in an ATU?
  2. How long have they been there?
  3. How many miles is the ATU from their normal home?

We would be very grateful if you could contribute your story to this part of the campaign.

You can post directly to the thread at:

If you prefer to remain anonymous, you can message one of the admins, Jackie Stillman, Jules Hip, Julie Newcombe or Mark Neary.

You can post your story in the comments section on this blog.

You can message the official Twitter account at @7Daysofaction

You can email the admin team at:


Thanks for your help.

Eden Norris: An Update

Back in April during the week long campaign, we featured on Day One, the story of Eden Norris. Eden has been in ATUs continuously for seven years. The blog post attracted a massive number of views and Eden was featured on the BBC News and in the film “Stuck In The System”.

For a few hopeful weeks in April, it looked like Eden might be moving towards a discharge. Then, a minor incident happened and all those plans seem further away than ever.

We’ve asked Eden’s mum, Deb, to update us on what has happened since April……

” In April, Eden’s responsible Clinician was talking about discharge around September/October 2016. Whilst we all felt hopeful, we were nervous too because exactly the same plan was put in place last year. Eden’s hopes were raised but it all came to nothing as the LA could not find suitable housing and wouldn’t agree on a support package. Despite a year of many meetings with the LA to talk about housing and providers, nothing happened and Eden became more depressed. We were told that funding wasn’t the issue but don’t understand why the plans have come to nothing.

Eden is 160 miles from home and is cut off from me, his siblings, his grandparents and his beloved dog. As the journey is a 13 hour round trip which involves three trains, I can only visit Eden once a fortnight. Every visit begins and ends with Eden asking, “When am I coming home? Is my flat ready yet?” It breaks my heart that I can’t answer either of those questions. And as I am his mother, Eden doesn’t understand why I can’t answer them either.

Eden has autism and learning difficulties but has never been diagnosed with a mental health problem.

During April and May, Eden was allowed to have five visits out of the Unit during my visiting time. With two staff from the Unit, we went into Norwich and he thoroughly enjoyed the meals out, bowling, the amusement arcades and walking around the shops. Eden likes people and is very chatty, so naturally he became alive during these trips out.

Then one day, it all changed. We had enjoyed a lovely day out and came to the point of returning back to the ATU. We were in the town and as instructed by the staff, I went to the station to pick up my return train. At some point, shortly after I left, Eden decided that he didn’t want to go back to the Unit but wanted to come home with me. The Unit car was parked on the 7th floor of a multi storey car park and Eden refused to walk back to it. The staff called the Unit and were advised to call the police. Eden was not being aggressive but was stubbornly refusing to move an inch. The police arrived and thankfully they really liked Eden. Eventually, about 7 hours later, Eden was returned to the ATU in the hospital van.

Eden hasn’t been allowed out with us since.


He is over medicated and constantly complains about the side effects of the drugs. He receives no stimulation in the Unit and is left daily to his own devices. It has been so upsetting in the last few weeks seeing how Eden is being left to rot. Literally! His Hygeine is poor and he lives such a miserable existence. Yet the people who make the decisions don’t seem to notice. Eden feels he is being punished for that day in Norwich.

I still live in the same home that Eden lived in until he was 15. Eden would love to return here. I would love him to return here. Hammersmith & Fulham council have said this is not possible and will only consider Eden living on his own in supported living or a group home. He doesn’t want that. Despite that, Hammersmith & Fulham are no further forward in finding a place or fixing up support.

Communication with the Unit is poor. Their phone lines are often down! and they rarely respond to emails. Ironically, Eden’s communication has also suffered whilst there. His speech is slurred due to the heavy duty medication. Eden has a lot of potential and it would be great if he could restart his education which abruptly stopped when he was 8.

Eden’s mental health section runs out in September. He is due to have a CPA in October. There is no plan for finding him a home. There is no plan for finding him a support team. There is no plan for any home visits. There is no plan to reintroduce the trips into Norwich when I visit. He is stuck in the system.

Please help us. Please support the campaign. All we are asking is that Eden’s right to a family life is respected and that he can restart his education.

Thank you.”