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‘Life and soul of party’ took fatal overdose just weeks after mental health service discharged her

PUBLISHED: 13:27 05 March 2019 | UPDATED: 16:07 05 March 2019

Dawn Pope died after taking an overdose of prescription drugs in August 2018, weeks after being discharged by the mental health service. Photo: Facebook, with permission of family

Dawn Pope died after taking an overdose of prescription drugs in August 2018, weeks after being discharged by the mental health service. Photo: Facebook, with permission of family

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A mum who was “the life and soul of the party” was discharged by the mental health service less than a month before she took a lethal overdose.

Dawn Pope died after taking an overdose of prescription drugs in August 2018, weeks after being discharged by the mental health service. Photo: Facebook, with permission of family Dawn Pope died after taking an overdose of prescription drugs in August 2018, weeks after being discharged by the mental health service. Photo: Facebook, with permission of family

Today the family of mother-of-one Dawn Pope, from Mile Cross, hit out at the alleged failures of the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) to give her treatment after several failed overdoses.

Her sister Paula Davey said: “They classed her as low risk and she should have been medium or high. They have absolutely let her down.”

She added: “Dawn was bubbly and fun loving. She had hundreds of friends. Her funeral at Earlham Crem was packed. Her death was very sudden, none of us expected it. She was the life and soul of any party.”

Mrs Davey said her sister had taken overdoses six times between 2002 and 2015, but she said the family only found out about it in 2015.

Dawn Pope died after taking an overdose of prescription drugs in August 2018, weeks after being discharged by the mental health service. Photo: Facebook, with permission of familyDawn Pope died after taking an overdose of prescription drugs in August 2018, weeks after being discharged by the mental health service. Photo: Facebook, with permission of family

The Aviva telephone sales assistant struggled with anxiety and depression, telling therapists that she had nightmares and flashbacks of previous sexual abuse, her inquest heard.

But clinicians believed the 36-year old when she said the overdoses were not intentional.

A report by the NSFT into Ms Pope’s death said their wellbeing service referred her to charity the Sue Lambert Trust, to get help in February 2017.

In May that year she took another overdose and an assessor said seeing the charity was still the best treatment for her.

Dawn Pope died after taking an overdose of prescription drugs in August 2018, weeks after being discharged by the mental health service. Photo: Facebook, with permission of familyDawn Pope died after taking an overdose of prescription drugs in August 2018, weeks after being discharged by the mental health service. Photo: Facebook, with permission of family

But she was on the waiting list with the charity for a year.

When her GP referred her again to the NSFT in May 2018 they said she should keep waiting for help from the charity and discharged her in July.

But unknown to the NSFT she had been discharged from the charity’s waiting list in February without getting help.

The charity said it discharged her because they could not contact Ms Pope.

Dawn with her sister Paula. Photo: Facebook, with permission of familyDawn with her sister Paula. Photo: Facebook, with permission of family

Later in July the mother-of-one took the lethal overdose of prescription drugs.

The NSFT investigation recommended more training for the clinician who assessed her.

NSFT staff did not appear at Ms Pope’s inquest but Diane Hull, chief nurse, said: “The Trust carried out a thorough investigation into the care we provided to Ms Pope and identified lessons we could learn.”

Mette Ohrvik, chief executive of the Sue Lambert Trust, said: “We have long waiting lists for our counselling service due to the very high demand.”

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