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Parents of teen who took his own life raise concerns about mental health services

PUBLISHED: 15:34 11 April 2019 | UPDATED: 20:10 11 April 2019

Cromer teenager Nyall Brown who died in May 2018 .  Photo: Mearl Brown

Cromer teenager Nyall Brown who died in May 2018 . Photo: Mearl Brown

Mearl Brown

The parents of a Cromer teenager were advised to seek private support for him, rather than rely on the mental health trust, leading up to his death, an inquest has heard.

Nyall Brown, 19, died at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) on May 22 last year, and his parents have since raised concerns over the treatment he received from mental health services.

An inquest at Norfolk Coroner’s Court on Thursday heard how the teenager, who was described as funny and mischievous, had sent simultaneous text messages to his parents before he took his own life, prompting them to rush to save him.

Nyall, of Mayfield Drive, had previously attempted suicide in January 2018, after which he ended up in intensive care.

Nyall’s mother Tracey Brown said her son had struggled with his mental health for a number of months, and had not seemed himself.

Unhappy with the response of mental health teams, Nyall’s parents had been looking for help for him privately. Mrs Brown said they were told “they were not able to help Nyall and the best thing Nyall could do was go private, and he gave me a list of private counsellors and the Mind website address”.

But giving evidence Darrell Yaxley, a psychological wellbeing worker with the Wellbeing Service, run by Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT), said Nyall did not want to be treated by the team.

Nyall had also been visited by NSFT’s crisis resolution and home treatment team (CRHT) after his first hospital admission, but the decision was made that because he already had an appointment coming up with the Wellbeing team they would not take him on.

This decision was challenged by senior coroner for Norfolk , Jacqueline Lake, and Mr Yaxley admitted he would not have accepted Nyall under the Wellbeing team if he had not been referred prior to his suicide attempt because of the severity. He also said he did not know where else in the trust to refer Nyall to for help, if the Wellbeing service was not appropriate for him.

Mark Mullins, representing the Browns asked Mr Yaxley: “What would the route be for Nyall to see a psychiatrist at the trust?”

But Mr Yaxley said he did not know, which Mr Mullins said he found “surprising”.

After two sessions Mr Yaxley said Nyall did not want to continue and judging how he was at that moment - which was correct procedure - he felt it was appropriate to discharge Nyall.

But Mrs Lake asked: “Would that take into account Nyall had recently attempted to hang himself?”

To which Mr Yaxley said: “No, my risk assessment was purely on the current state.”

Mrs Lake was also concerned that Nyall’s problems with his girlfriend, which had previously been identified as a trigger to him experiencing problems, were not considered or discussed. And that a risk assessment took the form of one question. Mr Yaxley said this was a indicator which led to further questions.

But Mr Mullins pointed to inconsistencies over the trust’s policies on risk assessments and which parts of the service they applied to.

And there were further concerns over the fact notes had not been accessed to get background on Nyall. Mrs Lake said it was “not the first time” this had happened.

After being discharged Nyall continued to deteriorate and in May made another attempt on his life.

Mrs Brown said she was travelling in the car with husband Mearl, when both of their phones received a message at the same time. She saw the message, with a location, where he was found hanged. Nyall was airlifted to the NNUH, where he was taken into intensive care.

He died five days later.

NSFT has since carried out a serious incident investigation and 10 recommendations were being acted upon. Mrs Lake is due to give her conclusion on Friday.

• Need to talk? Call Samaritans on 116 123.

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