‘There must be no more deaths’ - Four mothers who lost sons to suicide join London protest for better mental health care
PUBLISHED: 17:38 17 December 2018 | UPDATED: 18:03 17 December 2018
Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk
Four bereaved mothers travelled to London on Monday to demand change in mental health services in Norfolk and Suffolk.
Part of the Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk, the four took part in a protest which picketed outside the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England, and NHS Improvement.
It comes after Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) was rated as inadequate for the third time last month.
One of the mother’s was Sue Willgoss, whose son Daniel took his own life in June, aged just 25.
Mrs Willgoss, from Lowestoft, said: “Over the past eight years he made many attempts on his life and self harmed. NSFT failed to provide him with appropriate support and treatment.
“In the last few months of his life they failed to respond adequately and at time not at all to pleas for help. He desperately needed help and to be kept safe at times of deep crisis. They did so very little in the last few weeks. That’s why I’ve come today.
“It’s so important that there must be no more deaths like Daniel’s, no more heartbreak for those left behind. I launched #LiftLoudForDanny just after we lost him, in his memory.
“Things have to change, quickly. NSFT failed my son and continue to fail many, many others from the start of their mental health journey to those in crisis, of whom far too many are taking their lives far too frequently in Norfolk and Suffolk.”
Previously Julie Cave, then managing director at NSFT, said she met with Mrs Willgoss to agree some immediate areas of change.
She added: “We would also assure people that our trust has a wholehearted commitment to investigating and learning from the circumstances surrounding the loss of anyone who has touched our services, to fully question whether or not anything could have been done differently.”
Also there to represent her son was Krysia Stone, whose 42-year-old son Julian was found dead at the top of the stairs by his housemate on January 16 last year.
And Sheila Preston, whose son Leo Jacobs, 39, died on November 14, 2016.
Mrs Preston, who is also a governor at the trust, said: “In my opinion although the trust is making efforts to improve the catastrophic situation it is in, I am concerned that it is too little too late.”
Bernadine Currie lost her son Colin in August last year. She said: “I came to London to confront the NHS regarding their inaction to improve their services in NSFT which caused the death of my son. They have broken me and Colin’s dad is now suffering from cancer brought on by the shock of losing his son. Something needs to be done as we are losing a whole generation of young adults.”
NSFT chief executive Antek Lejk previously said: “Although we have been working hard to make improvements, we recognise that the actions we have taken so far have not resulted in the rapid progress which both the CQC and our Trust had hoped for.
“Since receiving the draft report, we have been taking action to address the immediate concerns found by the CQC and listening to our staff and service users to make sure we fully understand the deeper challenges faced by the Trust. This will allow our new senior management team to make long-term, sustainable changes which are based on their knowledge and experience and also draw on best practice from across the wider NHS. We are determined to get things right.”