Depressed mental health campaigner abruptly discharged from care after being told nothing can be done for him

John Byron has been under the care of Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust for nine years, and now they've decided they can do no more for him

John Byron 4Mental health patient John Byron


A severely depressed mental health campaigner has been abruptly discharged from care after nearly a decade – and told there is nothing else that can be done for him.

John Byron, 49, has long been under the care of Manchester’s community mental health team to help him deal with suicidal thoughts and self harm.

Since late last year he has also been campaigning against savage service cuts planned by Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust (MMHSCT), due to be signed off on Thursday.

Now, after nine years, the trust has suddenly discharged him altogether, claiming that despite its efforts he hasn’t got any better so there is nothing else it can do.

Video: A service in crisis

His fellow campaigners claim he is being victimised – a claim the trust denies.

But one mental health worker has also told the M.E.N. that people with very severe mental health conditions, including schizophrenia, are being discharged from the service ‘left, right and centre’ in order to get them off its books.

John featured in an M.E.N. special report in December about the crisis in Manchester’s mental health system after MMHSCT announced plans to cut seven separate services.

READ: Manchester’s mental health services are in crisis and people are suffering – the human cost of the cuts revealed

He told of his battle with depression, the struggle to get help in a crisis and how people with mental health problems rely on the community services now under threat.

In February he also spoke on a platform with shadow mental health minister Luciana Berger about the same issue.

Luciana Berger MP MEN John Byron story
Luciana Berger


Just a few days later he was asked by the trust to attend an appointment, although he didn’t know why.At the meeting he was told a group of mental health professionals had decided to discharge him entirely from the service – meaning he will have no home visits or regular contact with specialist workers at all, apart from an appointment with a psychiatrist every four to six months.His psychiatrist had not mentioned the move at their appointment two weeks earlier.John said he is now ‘terrified’ he will lose his benefits and be ordered to go back to work, despite often struggling to leave the house and regularly suffering from horrific lows.“They have discharged me because they have failed to help me,” he added.

John Byron 2John Byron


Paul Reed, chair of the Manchester Users Network campaign group, for which John has been campaigning, accused the trust of ‘victimisation’, adding: “The group’s view is that this has been done because he spoke out.”

MMHSCT said it would ‘never discriminate against or victimise a user’ but added it could not discuss individual cases.

Former mental health nurse Annabel Marsh, who retired from the trust last year, said that people are now being discharged from the service ‘left, right and centre’, she said, including patients on heavy medication for conditions such as schizophrenia.

She still voluntarily runs a group for people with mental health problems – and said she was seeing more and more people in crisis not getting the help they need.

John ByronJohn Byron


“I can’t tell you how distressing it is,” she said.

“As someone who facilitates a peer group it is very worrying what is happening. People are being discharged with major illnesses on serious medication which GPs don’t know the complications of.

“I just don’t understand how they can get away with it.”

A trust spokesman said: “No service users, who following assessments are assessed as requiring our care, would be stepped down.”

The trust’s board is to meet tomorrow and is expected to sign off a range of cuts to community therapies that will hit hundreds of patients, despite a public outcry against the move last October.

Credit:  Manchester Evening News

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