Jack Owen was just 16 when he was handcuffed by police - although he had committed no crime - and taken to a locked psychiatric ward intended for highly disturbed adults.
That was only the beginning of his ordeal, one no parent would want their child to endure. On his first night in the unit, the teenager, suffering from a cannabis-induced breakdown, was sexually assaulted by an older male patient. Then another man threatened to slice him open from his neck to his stomach.
Highly traumatised, Jack tried to escape from the hospital where he had been sectioned, only to be picked up and handcuffed again by police, this time so tightly that they broke a bone in his wrist.
Eventually, he was transferred to an adolescent unit. Now 23, he is still traumatised by his experience at the hands of the British mental-health system. His father Michael is angry that his son was subjected to such appalling treatment. When he was first sectioned, Jack was placed in a windowless, padded room.
"He kept putting on layer after layer of clothing to protect himself after the attack," said Mr Owen. "We can condone spending millions on the Olympics, but we can't get our health system right, which means children are put in places where the most disturbed adults are treated."
Tomorrow, MPs will debate for the first time the Mental Health Bill which includes key proposals on how children with mental- health problems are looked after by the NHS.
The House of Lords has already tabled demands that the Government end the practice of treating children on adult wards and ensure that they are looked after by specially trained physicians. But the Government is seeking to overturn this amendment and mental-health charities warn that this will mean more children condemned to a bleak future. This is backed up by figures released this weekend, which highlight the scandal of how depressed and suicidal teenagers are subject to abuse and assault because they are sent to adult wards.
An investigation by the charity Young Minds has revealed that one vulnerable child is admitted to an adult mental-health ward under section every day - others are also put on the wards who have not been sectioned. In all, that is around 1,000 children, some as young as 12, put on adult wards every year. These children spend an average of one month on the ward with many spending far longer. Three-quarters of girls under 18 are held on mixed wards, some witnessing and experiencing physical, sexual and verbal assault. At least nine out of 10 children have no arrangements for their education there.
And a postcode lottery exists; London has three times more beds than Yorkshire and Humber per million population.
Mental-health campaigners have denounced the treatment of these children and adolescents, who are often heavily sedated instead of receiving therapy, as "shocking" and "unacceptable".
"Treatment in these conditions can be so threatening that children and families will be deterred from seeking the early help that can be vital in preventing long-term illness," said Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of the mental-health charity Sane.
The Children's Commissioner, Sir Al Aynsley-Green, has condemned the practice as "a national scandal". The Government has put extra money into child and adolescent mental-health services but they are still under pressure and finding a bed at short notice is difficult.
The Independent on Sunday is urging MPs to read Jack's story before they debate the Mental Health Bill. This newspaper spent years highlighting the appalling treatment of people with depression and more serious psychiatric problems such as schizophrenia. This has highlighted the cases of patients who have languished in the system, especially those in secure hospitals who should have been moved on years ago. They include the writer Janet Cresswell who spent 27 years in Broadmoor for an act which would normally have earned her a short prison sentence, and Bill Collins who ended up in the secure hospital for 36 years when he too would have spent less time in jail. …