The parents of a schizophrenic man who went missing 13 years ago have finally found out he is safe.
Teresa and Tony Schofield appealed to the public for any information about their beloved 46-year-old son, Adrian, who they believed had been sleeping rough within or close to the area of Tiverton and Exeter.
Their prayers were answered when a doctor saw the couple’s emotional campaign on Devon Live.
This caring doctor worked at Devon Partnership NHS Trust (DPT), which provides mental health services to people living in Devon, and recognised Adrian as being a service user.
Although the doctor could not offer personal details regarding Adrian’s health, but did state how the organisation understood how upsetting it was for the parents to not know where their son is.
Teresa and Tony now know Adrian has a roof over his head, despite their fears he was homeless. They also now know he is receiving support from local mental health services.
Speaking with Devon Live, mum Teresa has spoken out about her relief:
On Sunday we had received an email from DPT to say that Adrian is known to them.
They were unable to share any details, but at least our minds are put at rest that he is not on the streets and is now getting the help he needs
Adrian has experienced great personal heartache in his life, losing his sister at the age of just 16-years-old.
Despite such difficulties, intelligent Adrian had enjoyed professional success, working as a computer analyst and even running his own company.
Vulnerable Adrian suffers from negative schizophrenia, which he was diagnosed with back in 2004 after being sectioned and spending a number of weeks at The Cedars, a psychiatric unit in Exeter.
Upon his release, he lived in temporary accommodation in Cullompton before he was given an apartment in Tiverton. During this time, he was being medicated through injections.
According to Teresa, Adrian was responding well to treatment until he came off the medication:
As parents, who dearly love him, we were as supportive as we could be and took him shopping, out for meals, walking etc. He seemed to be responding well and going to the gym to keep fit until he decided to stop being medicated.
He became increasingly insular and non-communicative.
We reported this to his CPN who told him, against our wishes – no confidentiality – that we were concerned.
Teresa explained how this caused a devastating rift in the family:
The consequence was that he left a message on our answer-phone saying he was cutting all ties and no longer wanted anything to do with us.
We were devastated, but were unable to find out anything more about him because of data protection.
We sent letters and made many phone calls to the CPN, but were asked not to contact them again
After this incident, it became very hard for Teresa and Tony to maintain communication with Adrian. Health professionals were unable to offer reassurances about Adrian’s wellbeing, which naturally added to their concerns.
In September 2016, the worried parents came across an article describing how Adrian had been evicted from his flat in Tiverton, and had resisted the eviction by wielding a metal bar. This report led to fears their son was homeless.
The couple contacted local homeless charities who were aware of Adrian. However, his whereabouts were a mystery since vanishing in March.
Teresa has now expressed her gratitude after her son was revealed to be safe:
We would also like to thank all those who got in touch with us with possible sightings of our son and also with support.
At least we now feel that he is getting the help he has so desperately needed for many years
The couple hope this story will raise awareness of the issues faced by the parents of mentally ill patients.
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.