'What did he need to do to get help?' - Family's anguish over tragic dad's battle with mental health issues
PUBLISHED: 07:06 02 October 2018 | UPDATED: 11:20 02 October 2018
SENT IN BY JEANETTE SIDELL
A popular football fan who took his own life was not put under the care of the crisis team, despite telling health professionals he could not keep himself safe, an inquest has heard.
Father-of-two Simon Taylor was found unresponsive in a garage at his home in Blenheim Drive, Attleborough, on March 6 of this year.
A Norwich inquest heard how Mr Taylor had suffered problems with his physical health, including blackouts, since he was a child. In the last three years of his life he had struggled with his mental health, which had not been helped by the breakdown of two relationships and not working.
The hearing heard how the 34-year-old had previously tried to take his own life, spoke about his suicidal thoughts to mental health nurses – yet prior to his death his case had not been escalated to the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust’s (NSFT) crisis team.
His father Stephen Taylor told the hearing: “He had tried to harm himself. It just seemed like he had so many appointments – what did he need to do to get help?
“There seems to be so much awareness but it’s not filtering down.”
The inquest heard how Mr Taylor’s father had, along with his partner Catherine, become his son’s main carers in the last few months of his life.
He said his son would take himself off for long walks without telling his family and had made a previous suicide attempt, adding: “The whole situation has caused my wife and I a great deal of stress. I believe Simon did intend to take his own life, as he had expressed this on numerous occasions.”
The inquest also heard from paramedics who arrived at the scene on March 6, mental health professionals who visited him in the community and Norwich Mind.
Janet Horth, a community mental health nurse with the NSFT, visited Mr Taylor at home on February 9 for an assessment to see if he should be referred to the crisis team.
She said Mr Taylor spoke candidly about his struggles: “He spoke frankly about suicidal thoughts, he said he could not guarantee that he would be able to keep himself safe and described previous attempts.
“He was aware that he struggled with the enormity of his feelings and that when they came upon him, he was not necessarily able to resist responding to them.”
Yvonne Blake, area coroner for Norfolk, questioned whether someone who said they could not guarantee keeping themselves safe should not be referred to the crisis team.
Ms Horth said she mentioned a referral to the crisis team to Mr Taylor and his father, but he was not formally referred.
She left Mr Taylor with the details of the Flexible Assertive Community Team (FACT) on the understanding that they would call him on a daily basis. She said, based on her visit, she raised Mr Taylor’s case to a consultant at the next multidisciplinary meeting.
The inquest also heard from Susan Ferguson, deputy service manager at NSFT’s Community Mental health services at Gateway House. Giving evidence on the serious incident report into Mr Taylor’s treatment she said that the trust had found a risk assessment for Mr Taylor carried out on March 2 had been proportionate.
She said: “Unfortunately there is always going to be the chance that a service user says to us that they cannot keep themselves safe. Janet took the information to the consultant.”
Mr Taylor’s family also raised concerns about the out-of-hours support available to people who were not under the care of the crisis team, highlighting one occasion where Mr Stephen Taylor was left on hold for 40 minutes.
Mrs Ferguson said: “You can ring the night support line, the Samaritans and the on call GP.”
Ms Blake gave a conclusion of suicide.
The Samaritans can be reached on 116 123.