Suicide man ‘let down by health staff’ — (The Sheffield Star)

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The Sheffield Star

26 Sept 2006

GRIEVING relatives have criticised mental health services over the death of a popular former Sheffield roadie who killed himself 10 days after a previous suicide attempt.
The family of Kevan ‘Jed’ Dancer – who worked as a sound engineer for musicians including Phil Lynott and Annie Lennox – believe mental health crisis workers were wrong to discharge him from hospital after he tried to gas himself in his car.
After a suicide attempt on March 20 this year failed when the 46-year-old father-of-two was disturbed by a friend, he was seen by staff at the Northern General Hospital, who judged him a “low risk”.
He was discharged with an outpatient appointment for the next month.
But 10 days later, Kevan was found dead outside his home in Mount Pleasant, Chapeltown.
His father Malcolm Dancer, aged 69, of Stocksbridge, said: “He should have been kept in hospital. It’s clear he needed help. It’s shameful how long they gave him to wait for a follow-up appointment.”
Kevan Taylor, chief executive of Sheffield Care Trust, said: “We wish to extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Kevan Dancer.
“Sheffield Care Trust has fully assisted the coroner with her inquiries in this inquest.”
During an inquest at Sheffield Coroner’s Court, Deputy Coroner Judith Naylor was told Kevan had been battling to overcome his condition, taking anti-depressants and seeing a psychotherapist.
After the March 20 suicide attempt, social worker Katrina Lille said that after a psychiatric assessment it was decided he was a low risk and only in danger of committing “impulsive acts” when he drank.
She added mental health services were satisfied he wanted treatment for his depression.
On March 30, he told a colleague at Bright Finance that he was going to the pub.
He drank heavily that night and the following morning he was found dead in his fume-filled car.
Recording a verdict that Kevan took his own life, Ms Naylor did not criticise mental health services.
She said: “It seems whatever the diagnosis relating to Kevan’s mental status, he seemed to be able to function normally provided he didn’t take alcohol.
“He had gone back to work and was talking about the future.
“Then he had a drink and that, it would seem, was the fatal catalyst.”
Retired sub-postmaster Malcolm, his wife Dorothy, 71, and surviving children Andrew, 44, and sister Angela, 39, paid tribute to Kevan, who they said was “full of fun” and had many friends.
But over the past four years, he had developed depression, which led to divorce and self-harm
Malcolm said: “He was so full of confidence. It’s difficult to understand how this all came about.
“He had a good wife, good kids and a job he loved. We don’t know what changed him.”
Former Myer’s Grove School pupil Kevan, of Deepcar, who had
two children, Callum, 15, and Nicole, 12, with wife Danielle, became a sound technician and from the early 1980s until the mid-1990s was on tour with stars including Eurythmics and Annie Lennox, Gary Moore, former Thin Lizzy singer Phil Lynott, Alison Moyet and Melissa Etheridge.
26 September 2006