Young woman who committed suicide was called ‘a f****** waste of space’ by mental health worker

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Suicidal Hannah Groves did not get the support and care she needed

The  Mirror reports: “In the UK the number of ­women taking their own lives has grown steadily since 2011. Mental health issues make up 23 per cent of those with health problems making contact with the NHS. But mental health provision has received only 13 per cent of the overall funding. Since 2011 the number of beds for mental health patients has fallen by 8 per cent.”

Last year female suicides hit a ten year high.  In 2015 – 2016, only 55% of mental health trusts reported increases to budgets since 2012, when “parity of esteem” with physical health was promised by the government.

Last year, a leaked report by a government taskforce painted a bleak picture of England’s mental health services, revealing that the number of people killing themselves was soaring, three-quarters of those with psychiatric conditions were not being helped, and sick children were being sent “almost anywhere in the country” for treatment. Suicide in England is now rising “following many years of decline”, with 4,477 suicides in an average year. There has also been a 10% increase in the number of people sectioned under the Mental Health Act over the past year, suggesting their needs are not being met early enough. In some parts of the country, more than 10% of children seeking help are having appointments with specialists cancelled as a result of staff shortages.

Commenting on the situation last year, Labour’s mental health spokesperson, Luciana Berger, said the figures are a “wake-up call” for ministers.

“Ministers talk about making mental health a priority, but in reality they have presided over service cuts, staff shortages and widespread poor-quality care, with devastating consequences,” she said.

“It is particularly worrying that women’s suicide rates in England are now the highest they have been for a decade. Ministers must identify the reasons behind this drastic increase and take the urgent action needed to tackle it.”

Hannah Groves is one victim of a growing mental health crisis among women, as female suicide rates hit a ten-year high last yearHannah’s desperate mother begged for help in vain more than 100 times over nine days before her daughter killed herself.

Mandy Park’s distraught pleas were not only ignored by a Southern Health Trust mental health worker, they were ridiculed. Hannah was labelled an “attention seeker” and a “f***ing waste of space”.

Hours later Hannah was found dead at home, aged just 20. Hannah had made numerous suicide attempts in the nine days before her death yet was repeatedly ­denied admission to hospital.

Last year, the privatised Southern Health NHS Trust – which runs a series of mental health services across the county and is headquartered in Tatchbury Mount, Calmore – was condemned by the Care Quality Commission after failing to protect patients and investigate the deaths of hundreds of people in its care, following a scathing independent report. The Trust has been the subject of independent government reviews since it was revealed it failed to investigate the unexpected deaths of hundreds of its patients between 2011 and 2015. See also: Southern Health NHS Trust, a Drowning and a Call for Better Care Everywhere and Embattled NHS trust boss quits role but will keep salary and benefits in new job and Southern Health criticised for putting ‘patients at risk’.

Hannah was a straight-A student studying French at university, and she had no mental health ­problems until October 2012. Mandy believes she suffered a sudden onset of psychosis, but this was not diagnosed because she was not ­properly assessed.

On the night she got ill, Mandy gave Hannah a lift to her boyfriend’s and later had a ­panicked call from him.She picked up her daughter but on the trip home Hanna ­repeatedly tried to jump from the ­moving car. She also attempted to run into oncoming traffic.

Mandy said: “She was such a sweet, gentle person. But it was like she was possessed.

“Her voice had changed and she was speaking in a monotone.

“She didn’t smoke but she would pace the floor, chain-smoking and ­staring into space. I was terrified of my own girl. She kept saying she felt numb.”

Mandy took Hannah to A&E where the medical staff referred her to the Trust’s mental health crisis team. However, staff from the trust assessed Hannah and decided she did not meet the ­criteria for a bed in Antelope House, in her home town Southampton.

Over the next week she ­repeatedly attempted suicide. Mandy took her to ­hospital, to her GP and even to an out of area mental heath facility, desperately trying to get help.

Police and paramedics regularly attended the family home and she begged mental health workers to intervene, in vain.

Mandy said: “One time she had a scarf round her neck and I had to hold her down. I spent hours on the phone to the mental health team but they would sigh as soon as I told them who I was.

Hannah even got hold of the phone herself and was repeatedly telling them she was going to kill herself but they did nothing.”

Three days before her death, Hannah was taken to A&E once more, but was sent home again by the mental health Trust.

Mandy said: “Hannah fell on the floor in a heap. It was heartbretking. She knew she needed help.”

The evening before Hannah’s death, on October 22, 2012, her boyfriend brought her orange roses and she wrote the words “I’m still alive” on a chalkboard.  Mandy ­recalled she was so hopeful, she said: “I thought I was getting her back.”

The next day Mandy had to call the police after Hannah threatened to kill her family. She was arrested under the Mental Health Act.

Again, staff at Antelope House refused to admit her after a social worker told the police detention officer she was a “f***ing waste of space” an “attention seeker”.

Just hours later, Mandy found her daughter’s body. She had left her home for a matter of minutes to call the crisis team, begging for help once again.

Mandy painfully remembers “At the hospital I stood there while they did CPR. Then they said there was nothing more they could do. I fell on the floor, screaming the place down.”

The grieving mother decided to call medical ­negligence solicitor, Nick Fairweather, to fight for justice in her daughter’s memory.

Mandy was heartbroken and ­physically sick when she heard the comments about Hannah, who was a constant danger to herself.

Mandy said: “It beggars belief that ­anyone could treat another human that way.

“Hannah changed overnight from a happy young ­woman to a ­totally different person. She was my world.

“I love and miss her. She had so much to live for and to give. If she’d got the right treatment she’d still be here.”

Last month Mandy, a former ­support worker for deaf children, was awarded £260,000 in an ­out-of-court medical negligence settlement from Southern Health Trust.

The Trust admitted that Mandy had been a “secondary victim” of its ­failings after she developed post-traumatic stress ­disorder and spent six weeks in a ­specialist mental health facility. She has also ­contemplated ­suicide, but felt she could not leave her son Patrick, 21, without a mum.

Mandy said: “Finding Hannah’s body was the worst moment of my life. I have flashbacks every day. It’s like a film on a constant loop.

“The effects of these ­failings have been catastrophic. I’m ­terrified it will happen to someone else’s child.”

The Health Care Professions Council ruled the insults about Hannah were “undoubtedly spoken” but failed to prove the case against a named social ­worker.

Coroner Keith Wiseman ­delivered a narrative verdict at her inquest and ruled the Trust had “not adequately identified” the risks to Hannah.

Mandy said: “Everyone says I did ­everything I could but there are times when the guilt kicks in. I wonder if I should’ve just handcuffed us both to Antelope House.

“It’s 2017 but our attitude to mental health beggars belief – especially from those supposedly trained in this field.”

 She added: “A lot of people do judge, and say, ‘Snap out of it.’ But no one would ever tell you to snap out of it if you had cancer. Something has to change.” 

Julie Dawes, interim chief ­executive of Southern Health said: “I apologise again on behalf of the trust for letting Miss Groves down in 2012 and I send my condolences to her family.”

 

 

If you feel suicidal, need support and someone to speak to, Samaritans operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. Call 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org 

 

 


 

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48 thoughts on “Young woman who committed suicide was called ‘a f****** waste of space’ by mental health worker

  1. I had a similar experience at the same age. In addition to being suicidal, my father was psychotic and tried to kill me, I was labelled as an attention seeker at this poor young woman’s age, and my second attempt at suicide landed me in hospital for a fortnight. I received no aftercare. Still don’t know how/why I ended up here.. But my story took place in America, 34 years ago… 😰😰😰 I am only here by default….. As for this young woman, she is not only a victim of a failed system but of cruelty and inhumanity, and that social worker has her blood on her hands, and does not deserve to remain in her post. Beyond disgraceful. 😡😡😡

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am still trying to get Chelsea and Westminster Hospital to deal with their abuse of Mental Health patients. It is a known secret that vulnerable people are abused in their A&E department but they chose to do nothing.
      The nurses in other departments tell patients to put in formal complaints. They feel that this discharges their duty of care.
      The attitude is that if you have a mental health condition, you can’t be physically ill. You can’t be in pain. It’s all in your head.

      Keep up the good work.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The government decided we needed care in the community as abetter approach in the 1980’s it didn’t work for what is called the dreadful name of learning difficulties, so they decided to use it for mental health, hundreds of care facilities closed thousands of beds have been cut, it hasn’t worked, now they are attempting to do the same for physical conditions it seems the government are not interestedif they are not able to work you to death.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Find this story difficult to believe. It is a tragedy but why did the mother ‘leave to make a phone call’?
      I’m having trouble believing so many hospitals & mental health specialists, not one, recognised the severe distress this poor young woman was in.

      Like

      1. Perhaps she had no home phone, or her mobile had run out of charge. I remember being in the same situation with no landline a couple of times. Or maybe she left the room to make the call. I think the fact she won her legal case shows the account is genuine.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. ‘First, do no harm’: are disability assessments associated with adverse trends in mental health? A longitudinal ecological study
    B Barr1, D Taylor-Robinson1, D Stuckler2, R Loopstra2, A Reeves2, M Whitehead1
    Author affiliations
    Abstract
    Background In England between 2010 and 2013, just over one million recipients of the main out-of-work disability benefit had their eligibility reassessed using a new functional checklist—the Work Capability Assessment. Doctors and disability rights organisations have raised concerns that this has had an adverse effect on the mental health of claimants, but there are no population level studies exploring the health effects of this or similar policies. http://jech.bmj.com/content/70/4/339

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I whistleblow in the trust I worked for about shortaged of staff and unsafe staffing levels when I raised health & Safety concerns nothing was ever done.

    As a health & Safety rep and union steward putting in reports were still ignored they all turn on you once you make noise about concerns I was driven through the door by managers and the union they get away with everything

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So sorry you were treated that way for raising concerns about health and safety – fundamental to good practice. Well done for having the courage and conscienciousness to do so. If staff needs aren’t met, there is no chance of patient care being adequate either.

      Like

      1. In health and Social Care, the so called “caring profession” no staff needs are met due to the crippling cuts & staff shortages. The pressure is so intense some staff are in a state of anxiety. The infa structure is breaking down as MPs get 11% pay rise?

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I tried to kill myself 6 weeks ago. I took a massive overdose of opiate painkillers. Somebody contacted the police who came to my house and called me a disgusting mother, an attention seeker and threatened to handcuff me for no reason.
    I was taken to A&E by ambulance, given an IV antidote and oxygen. The crisis mental health team assessed me. I told them I was suicidal. I was discharged home where I was alone for 4 days and did not see another mental health worker for 11 days. I had my medication adjusted and this was delayed by the GP for another 4 days. I have not seen another mental health worker since.

    Like

  6. In 2010 I felt like this young woman thinking up ways to kill myself but never actually went through with it. Now if they asked me why I haven’t done it yet they would get one of 2 replies “Because this interrogation letter turned up so I thought I. would turn up and kill you first!” Or “Pick a number between one and three one number gives you about four minutes to think about what you said while you die, the other two are instant death!” Getting up from the chair while I said either . I would love to see them 5h!t themselves as they thought about making a bolt out the door and all the time recording it and using the phrase “Why haven’t you done it yet?” Against then in court. Getting out of the chair could be claimed intent but you it could be counterclaimed that the person was in pain and got up to relieve the pain. Having a recording could prove A the HP started it and B you were provoked into the reaction by their question and C if you groan as you stand could show you got up to relieve pain. As I say assumption is the mother of all f**k ups.

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  7. I’m so sorry that this beautyful young woman lost her life because of a stupid remark that this dreadful person made!and she should never be aloud to work with vulnerable persons ever again.One of these assessors has lied about someone I love & and has caused her terrific unbearable trauma.Having her disability benefit cut. Also a Friend took her son who suffered mental illness ,to the Dr,who said he was just bored not depressed! He shot himself the next day.

    Like

  8. I trained as an MH nurse in the mid 90’s and worked for a year or so on acute wards. I know from my own experience that as MH nurses we were not given the training, resources, capacity or support to cope with the rising self harm and suicide instances and many of my ‘old skool’ colleagues did not offer much in the compassion department.

    I went on to train as a psychotherapist and (in accordance with requirements) had my own therapy. I can now look back at how inadequately prepared those of us cast with the job of caring for this very ill population have been and until you have dug deep into your own unconscious needs it’s highly unlikely you will be a potent carer for these very needy people. I use needy not as a judgment but as an observation. Their need level is great and comes from that very small Child that missed these needs being met. For whatever reason that has happened in their development…the need remains and coming from an adult can seem whiny and demanding. You need to be very well trained, theraped and supported with good supervision to help this person to fulfill that development gap.
    I did not meet many psych nurses during my working life who were trained well enough.
    This is not a story which will go away….it’s a story which will run on and on, and many more lives will be lost as the NHS is dismantled and privatised.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that austerity , inequality and poverty also add to the needs of people with mental health problems and sometimes create those problems too. I agree that support and debriefing is essential for all mental health professionals, and that private providers especially don’t provide this, because of their push for “efficiency” and their target driven culture – counts and outcomes, not wellbeing and professionalism.

      Liked by 3 people

  9. My brother wasn’t helped 40 years ago, we did all we could, then he attacked my mother and killed her. I think the situation for getting help is even worse now, they do know more about diagnosis, but have less people, and less safe places for people who are suffering mental health problems. My heart goes out to this family in the blog.

    Like

    1. I am very sorry to hear about your experiences, which was a double tragedy – and yes, my heart goes out to families suffering this kind of neglect and the terrible consequences x

      Like

  10. I suffered a massive psychotic episode,people just don’t understand how frightening it is,there is no let up from it,I ended up in an infirmary after slashing my wrists because I was hearing a voice telling me to do it,a family members voice whom I trusted implicitly,I had been under the impression all my family were going to be killed and I wasn’t allowed to say anything about it,I had been thinking that all my family knew it too but the trick was to say nothing,ignore ‘evil’ and it would all go away,it was all very real and had been going on for about two weeks and in that time I rarely slept,lots of other things happened and we’re going through my mind,there’s no peace from it at all,even on television,films,advertising boards,on the sides of buses,your mind somehow makes everything you see and hear part of what you’re going through and being outside where there’s traffic noise is hellish,it’s like the volume of everyday life being turned up really high,my family though I was an alcoholic so I got tablets for ithe yet all the while my brain was just malfunctioning even more,it literally was like being in hell on earth,luckily I got assessed by the crisis team,I managed to summon up the strength to tell them just a little of what was going through my mind,I was taken to a local mental health hospital and stayed in for 3 months,the psychosis didn’t start to alleviate for about 9 weeks and I was taking Risperidone which when I look back was a life saver,I would not wish psychosis on my worst enemy and to be honest I think I’d rather battle some cancers than psychosis because believe me,I almost died and it can also come back,my own was named stress related psychosis and not getting much sleep is the indicator that it could be coming on,I’ve been told it’s due to post traumatic stress disorder however,I know a lot more about it now than I did before bit believe me,it’s horrifying and should be taken a lot more seriously than how it is at the moment.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m so glad you got through that terrible experience. It can happen to anyone, too.

      My aunt, now an educational psychologist, had a psychosis episode in her late teens. It came on at the height of her anorexia some years back. She had been starving herself for a while. She weighed just four and a half stones when she was hospitalised for her “breakdown”. It was that which probably saved her life, too.

      With illnesses like cancer, people are more likely to understand what is happening and are much more likely to be supportive, with mental illnesses, all too often that isn’t the case.

      There is also often an overlap between physical and mental illness. I have lupus and that can also cause psychosis, among other mental and cognitive problems. We don’t yet know enough about the physical causative elements of mental illness, too.

      Like

  11. I believe I am correct in saying that under Tory governments the incidents of suicide always rise considerably. It makes me wonder whether these nasty heartless people deliberately intend the tragic consequences of their heartless and despicable vindictiveness towards the sick and the disabled.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I have been feeling suicidal for many years and was lucky enough to be given some.sort of care and a diagnosis after 13 years of being under the care of the local mental health team. I say lucky, because I’ve known of people committing suicide, including within my family, but I’ve somehow survived it. My first attempt was at age of 17. I remember the A&E nurses who were resuscitating me, asking if I really wanted to die, and if I really wanted to be admitted to the psych ward. I remember my brother sitting by my side and looking ashamed of me. I remember how the psychologist told me that it’ll all pass and blamed me for feeling that way due to being a teenager -“gosh, I wouldn’t want to be 16-17 again!” she said, while the whole time directing he gaze to a wall and not even once giving me a glance.
    After therapy and all sorts of help, I’m still planning a way to exit this world permanently, without causing any fuss to anyone. It’s the only way out of this indescribable pain.

    Like

    1. I’m sorry to hear about your experiences and your pain, despite therapy. You don’t say what kind of therapy it was, but not all types of therapy suit everyone, and I am so sorry to hear that it hasn’t helped and lessened you pain.

      I know of this resource, which I hope may be useful to you – https://freepsychotherapynetwork.com/find-an-therapist/

      Let me know how you get on, and you can talk here – and more privately, if you need to. Best wishes, Ash x

      Like

  13. Wow, thanks for such wonderful feedback, thanks for quoting me, too. I write to share info as widely as possible, so I’m delighted. And thank you very much for such a generous donation.

    As someone who loves music, and composes and plays (mostly sax and keyboards) for therapeutic purposes, I will definitely be Looking i on your website.

    My very best wishes, and happy international women’s eve to you, too!

    Kitty

    Like

  14. I am so sorry for your loss, and I am glad you are still here.

    We begged the hospital not to discharge my brother after a stint in IC when he had made several attempts on his life. The psychiatrist discharged him without further discussion (he wasn’t present), citing “mild depressive illness with no need for follow up” (from the coroner’s report). My brother was dead within two months. My father, who found him, also took his own life and I found them both.

    Fast forward some years, and I myself am in secondary care, but have not seen a psychiatrist or CPN for over 18m. They also can’t explain why they haven’t assessed me for PTSD despite continuous reporting of flashbacks and nightmares.

    This is Sheffield mental health services.

    Like

  15. What a sad government we’ve got :

    Waited 18 months for new back door, under the Repairs and Renewal Grant with the local council

    Now reached the second anniversary since I completed the ESA Form50 for benefits – still no answers, help or support – and no money!

    Still they cannot make the decision, whether I should be placed within the work-related or the support group or if I am fit for work!!!

    Forced to take my case to the Upper Tribunal and the Independent Case Examiner – on two counts – one against the Department for the Work and Pensions and the other against the CHDA to make the decision for them.

    Told by the Acting Head of ESA Operations – Lindsay Tickle – not to waste THEIR time !!

    Also told by the DWP – that I was suffering from depression and should re-apply.

    I have no history of depression – why should I – I have two amazing sons

    The DWP keep insisting they’re right – and wasting their time …… telling lies and giving false statements. Happy to pass the book to other departments and nothing gets resolved.

    Wanted to sell my house years ago and move nearer my sons……………… just had few delays.

    What should I do ?

    Like

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