Sam became pregnant at 17. Her son is now six years old and is looked after by her mother under a special guardianship order. Sam has regular contact with him and they have a close relationship. Sam is grateful to her mother but also resents the fact that she was not supported to care for her son herself. Sam feels that she was stigmatised for her mental health needs, and that if she had received the right support she could have been more involved with her son’s care.
Every time mental health is mentioned… bad news, because people are not trained enough in it…
… if her son’s away from her then even better because she can’t be around children if she’s like this with bipolar and violent outbursts and all this sort of stuff,’ not, ‘Right, maybe she needs anger management, maybe she needs a referral to a mental health place and do all this stuf and start bringing her and her son together.’
Sam was involved in abusive relationships for many years and her offending, drug use and mental health problems continued.
Sam regrets the trauma her son has experienced when witnessing her being arrested, and feels that the police did not make any effort to protect him.
And if they’re searching the house, they’ll break up the stuff in his bedroom, they don’t care that he’s there screaming or whatever. Previously when I was a child they didn’t are if I was screaming… For about 15 years, Sam did not feel she had a positive experience in court and feels her son’s interests were not taken into account:
However about four years ago, Sam received a community order which led her to the Advance Minerva service.
Sam has not offended since then and is working as a peer mentor. She attributes her success to the support she has received from the Advance Minerva service, as well as the judge’s decision.