First Posted on Antidepaware.co.uk
To view original article click here
By Natasha Adkins
A coroner says Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust “missed an opportunity” to help a depressed Thatcham man.
Alan Mears, 53, of Foxglove Way, was discovered hanged in his garage by his daughters on April 3, last year.
An inquest at Newbury Town Hall on Wednesday, August 14 heard Mr Mears suffered anxiety, severe depression and obsessive thoughts in the months before his death.
In a statement Mr Mears’ wife Carol said he started having trouble sleeping towards the end of 2011 because of an old arm injury. She felt her husband’s behaviour switched to depression in January.
From February 6, Mr Mears started seeing his GP Dr Richard Rodgerly, who prescribed anti-depressants and offered a talking therapies referral, which he declined.
On March 30, Dr Rodgerly referred Mr Mears to the common point of entry (CPE) team – which makes the initial assessment for any mental health referral – after a suicide attempt the night before and a phone assessment was carried out.
Mr Mears had drunk a large amount of vodka with the intention of cutting his throat, but passed out before he could do it.
Transcripts of the conversation between Mr Mears and Heather Jewitt, team leader at CPE, were read to the inquest.
Miss Jewitt said: “I don’t know what to suggest, don’t know how we can help you.”
Berkshire coroner Peter Bedford said: “It is clear from the transcript no attempt was made to involve Mrs Mears in the assessment with her husband, we know she was actively involved with her husband when he visited the GP so it seems to me likely he would have agreed to her being involved.”
Miss Jewitt did not attend the inquest for health reasons, but her former colleague Sara Pierson-Lovesy, who was a senior mental health practitioner for CPE, did.
Mrs Pierson-Lovesy had originally made the call to Mr Mears, but had to end the conversation when she started to feel unwell. Miss Jewitt then called Mr Mears back an hour later to finish his assessment.
Mr Bedford asked for Mrs Pierson-Lovesy’s opinion on Mr Mears’ conversation with Miss Jewitt, which ended with her giving him contact numbers in case he had suicidal thoughts again.
He said: “It says, ‘I found it difficult to assess him’. To me doesn’t that suggest more should be done in way of a follow up?”
Mrs Pierson-Lovesy replied: “To me if someone is saying they’re not depressed, they don’t want any intervention, that is most difficult for us to assess.”
Mr Bedford said: “Yes, doesn’t that simply mean ‘it is difficult for us, can’t make the decision over the phone so I need someone to see this man and follow up?’”
She replied: “That may have been a decision someone else may have taken.”
Recording a narrative verdict, Mr Bedford said: “There was a missed opportunity for a face-to-face assessment following the telephone conversation with the common point of entry team on March 30.
“It is not possible to predict the outcome of such an assessment or review and whether it would have affected the outcome.”