The mum of a 16-year-old girl who took her own life hasn’t given up hope of changing mental health care for children and young people.
Annette McKenzie has been campaigning to raise awareness and challenge politicians to protect youngsters under 16 from being prescribed medication without their parents knowing.
She hopes to save other families from experiencing the pain she has gone through from losing her daughter.
Britney Mazzoncini was an outgoing, happy girl who always cared about other people.
Her family said she had normal teenage worries and struggled with school but had support at home.
Her mum described her as having a “big heart” but could be “easily led” as she never had to worry about things that took a lot of responsibility.
Aged 16, Britney enrolled with a different GP to the one she grew up with and made an appointment because she was feeling down.
Unbeknownst to her mum, Britney was prescribed beta blockers which are sometimes used to treat anxiety.
Just two weeks after starting the medication, Britney overdosed and died.
Her family were devastated and shocked that the teenager was so suddenly taken from them.
Britney’s parents had no idea she was on beta blockers.
Since Britney’s death in 2016, Ms McKenzie has been campaigning for better awareness around prescribing for young people struggling with their mental health.
She told STV News: “As a parent I should have been able to help.
“I was able to do nothing until after the event which was too late.
“I would have liked to have seen her referred to a psychological service and back for a follow-up appointment before any medication was given.”
Ms McKenzie believes things would have turned out differently if she had been informed of her daughter’s visit to the GP.
Children can give informed consent to receive medical care from age 12.
In December 2016, Ms McKenzie lodged a petition with the Scottish Parliament urging them to provide consultation with and consent from a parent or guardian before prescribing medication to treat mental ill health if the patient is under 18 years of age.
The petition wasn’t successful, but Ms McKenzie hasn’t given up on campaigning for change and raising awareness around this issue.
The emails she receives from families and young people impacted by suicide and poor mental health keep her motivated to making a difference.
Ms McKenzie added: “I get so many emails from people with mental health issues who aren’t getting the help they need.
“I know I’m helping them and I know I’m saving lives.
“That’s what keeps me going, and it’s all in memory of Britney.”