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Inquest hears 'troubled' woman was hospitalised twice for overdoses before taking own life

PUBLISHED: 15:32 18 June 2019 | UPDATED: 15:32 18 June 2019

Carrow House, the location of Norfolk Coroner's Court. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Carrow House, the location of Norfolk Coroner's Court. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2016

A "troubled" woman who struggled with her finances and her mental health took her own life, an inquest has ruled.

Melanie Mann, 50, was found hanging at her home in Atkinson Way, Sheringham, on February 7 by her clinical support worker after concerned calls to her had gone unanswered.

An inquest into her death on Tuesday heard she was in financial difficulties due to "overspending" on things including foreign holidays, but that she was ambivalent about changing her behaviour.

Ms Mann, who suffered from bipolar affective disorder, had a long history of mental ill health and had been receiving support from the community mental health team since June 2017.

The inquest at Norfolk Coroner's Court heard that, although she was hospitalised twice due to drug overdoses in the weeks before her death, she was deemed not to have acute mental illness but to have "maladapted coping strategies" which hospital admission would be unlikely to help.

Following her death a serious incident review was set to be carried out by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT).

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Ms Mann was a primary carer for her mother, who had dementia, and the inquest heard that respite care arranged in the last months of her mother's life helped to lessen the burden of her caring responsibilities.

Following her mother's death in late 2017 she moved to Sheringham and re-explored her care plan with mental health professionals, but started booking more foreign holidays and increasing her debts.

Community mental health nurse Alison Swanson said Ms Mann felt she had "an entitlement to 'me time'" and that spending helped to alleviate her feelings of loneliness.

Clinical support worker Simon Pawsey, who saw Ms Mann several times between November 2018 and January 2019, said she had been anxious about difficulties with debt and problems with her personal independence payment (PIP) application to the Department for Work and Pensions.

In a journal entry from January 2019, Ms Mann said she was feeling depressed and expressed suicidal thoughts.

In a statement Mr Pawsey - who found Ms Mann's body after attending her address when she failed to answer phone calls from support workers - said there had been no obvious decline in her mental state but that it was agreed that she should be "kept an eye on".

Yvonne Blake, area coroner for Norfolk, recorded a narrative conclusion that Ms Mann had taken her own life but that her bipolar affective disorder may have affected her ability to understand the consequences of her actions.

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