Paganist protests as health visitor tells her to move items

Sir Vince Cable is the new leader of the Liberal Democrats

Sir Vince Cable is new Liberal Democrats leader

A follower of paganism claims a mental health home treatment team member told her she should put her religious items away because of the effect they could be having on her son.

Jemma Hawkins, 29, receives regular visits from a mental health home treatment team because of her bi-polar disorder.

But on one of these visits, Mrs Hawkins says the treatment team member told her she should remove pagan images and accessories from her living room because of her concerns for her 10-year-old son David.

Mrs Hawkins, of Foster Close in Stubbington, was diagnosed with the disorder in November and has been receiving health visits, sometimes daily, to help her cope with the depression.

Mrs Hawkins had several visits from various workers who she praised for their professionalism.

But one of them upset her with her comments.

She said: 'The lady was commenting on my bits and bobs and she said I ought to take them down because she thought it was detrimental to my son's wellbeing.

'Before that we had been talking about how I had been doing and I wasn't feeling too good, so that really knocked me for six.

'I was really angry because Wicca is a recognised religion.

'You wouldn't go into a Muslim's home and ask them to take down their religious items would you?'

Husband Dave added: 'I was quite disgusted.

'What sort of rights have they got to say that to us? But the lady was quite adamant.'

Mrs Hawkins has been a practising pagan for about six years said her son has no problem with her beliefs: 'He thinks it's cool and he's always asking questions about it but I've always stressed to him that just because mum does it, he doesn't have to as well.'

Hampshire Partnership NHS Trust Jamie Stevenson said the team member had been referring to some collectable dolls not connected to religious beliefs, known as Living Dead dolls, which Mrs Hawkins had on display.

He said 'When the support worker went around there and she saw these dolls and she thought they were a bit macabre.

'She then said: "Don't you think you should keep them in your bedroom?"

'We would never give advice on parenting unless they were doing something extremely wrong, which isn't the case here.

'With a mental health patient like Mrs Hawkins we are trying to build a rapport and look after her needs, not to go in and throw our weight around.'

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