Woman dies after waiting 18 months for depression counselling
A young woman who died after falling from a bridge had been waiting for 18 months to receive an appointment for counselling for depression it was revealed. A former psychiatric nurse said that the woman’s history had put her in a high risk category and that she should have been seen by a crisis team within a day. Essex residents may have heard of Mind, the mental health charity whose spokesman warned that cuts in funding for psychiatric services could have tragic results.
The young woman who died was aged 22 and had a history of self-harm. She attended Accident and Emergency a number of times for treatment after hurting herself and had previously tried to commit suicide. Her family had pressed for her to be fast tracked with letters and phone calls but she was still waiting for an appointment when she died. The nurse who has worked with mentally ill patients for over 20 years said that the girl’s history should have warned medical staff of the urgency of her case.
Politicians and mental health organisations have called for a halt to the funding cuts that are affecting services for vulnerable people. A candidate for the Greater Manchester mayoral position has offered his condolences to the family and has made improvements to mental health services one of his campaign pledges. Another organisation has called for a complete reassessment of the mental health services in the region and said that the girl’s death could have been avoided.
A solicitor knowledgeable in cases where fatal medical errors have been made may be able to offer legal advice to address the negligence of health care professionals. While compensation cannot make up for the loss of a family member, the legal process may highlight the failures in the system and prevent a similar event from taking place again.