SOUTHEND is rallying behind a brave teenager who was told there are no mental health beds available to him in the whole of the UK.

A fundraising push is hoping to raise thousands of pounds to help Leo Clark, from Leigh, who has fallen victim to a shortage of children and adolescent mental health beds.

The 16-year-old has been described as “the politest and kindest young man” despite living with complex medical needs including a genetic condition and hearing loss.

During primary school, Leo was suspected as having bipolar although he was not diagnosed until 2017.

Following the diagnosis, he was sectioned and hospitalised for four months.

Earlier this year, his medication stopped working and he slipped into another bout of severe psychosis.

Although experts have recognised Leo as needing specialist care, the family have been taking care of him between their home and the Neptune Ward at Southend Hospital, with no beds available.

Dad, Ross Clark, 41, said: “They did warn us his medication may stop working, which it did, and we knew something was wrong. He went from being depressed to having hypomania in the space of ten hours.

“The Neptune team have been amazing and have done everything they can to support us, but they are a paediatric ward for young kids and can only do so much. He’s been there for eleven days so far, and I’ve had to miss nearly four or five weeks off work.

Read more:

'Screaming' child left with blistered feet after stepping where disposable BBQ was lit on beach

“My wife Linzi at the moment is at home on her own and is desperate to see her boy, I’ve been with him 24/7.

“Thankfully we’ve heard there may soon be a bed available at a private hospital in Chelmsford, but he needs to be assessed first.”

A Go Fund Me page has now been set up to raise awareness of the "desperate state" of the mental health services available to young people in the UK.

It is hoped £5,000 can be raised for cognitive behavioural therapy sessions, landscaping of the family garden so the youngster can play football at home, a hot tub to help encourage hormone rebalance and help fight his anxiety, along with financial help for the family.

Mr Clark added: “I do find it really sad families feel lost and desperate to help their kids but are unable to do anything about it, it is awful.

“I think mental health has really been neglected, we’re so lucky when some may be sent across the country.”