NHS Trust fails mother

An NHS Foundation has said it should have prevented the death of a mother suffering from post-natal depression. 33 year old Diana Mager killed herself at Green Parks House psychiatric unit in Orpington, Kent in August last year.

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NHS apologise for death of Diana

From the day Diana Major gave birth to her daughter Sofia, she began to show the signs of severe post-natal depression - chronic anxiety, delusions and self-harm.

Her husband told staff at the psychiatric unit in Kent thatt she was a suicide risk -- but she still managed to take her own life. Today, Adam Major described the actions of staff as "unforgivable". Ria Chatterjee reports.

Spotting the signs in others

If you're worried that someone you know is suffering from Postnatal Depression, here's a guide to how to spot the signs.

  • They frequently cry for no obvious reason
  • They have difficulties bonding with their baby
  • They seem to be neglecting themselves – for example, not washing or changing clothes
  • They seem to have lost all sense of time – often unaware if 10 minutes or two hours have passed
  • They lose all sense of humour and cannot see the funny side of anything
  • They worry something is wrong with their baby, regardless of reassurance

If you think someone you know has postnatal depression, encourage them to open up and talk about their feelings to you, a friend, GP or health visitor.

Postnatal depression needs to be properly treated and isn't something you can just snap out of.


Symptoms of Postnatal Depression

Key symptoms are:

  • a persistent feeling of sadness and low mood
  • loss of interest in the world around you and no longer enjoying things that used to give pleasure
  • lack of energy and feeling tired all the time

Other symptoms can include:

  • disturbed sleep, such as not being able to fall asleep during the night and then being sleepy during the day
  • difficulties with concentration and making decisions
  • low self-confidence
  • poor appetite or an increase in appetite/"comfort eating"
  • feeling very agitated or alternatively very apathetic
  • feelings of guilt
  • thinking about suicide and self-harming
  • feeling unable to look after the baby
  • too anxious to leave the house
  • thoughts about harming the baby

Seeking help for Postnatal Depression

Postnatal depression can begin soon after birth and can last for over a year Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

If you have any of the symptoms of Postnatal Depression, it is vital you see your GP.

Treatment will benefit both your health and the healthy development of your baby, as well as your relationship with your partner, family and friends.

Seeking help does not mean you are a bad mother or unable to cope.

If you think you might have Postnatal Depression you can fill out a self-assessment here. This is not intended to replace a consultation with a GP.

'We are very sorry', says Trust

At Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust we are very sorry and deeply saddened by Mrs Mager's death and would once again like to offer our sincere condolences to her husband and family.

We undertook an internal investigation following Mrs Mager's death, which identified some learning for us. We take the death of a patient very seriously and have since taken further expert advice.

Following this, we will now review our internal inquiry to identify further learning and ensure that this is put in place.

– Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust statement


Mother had attempted suicide twice before

Diana Mager on her wedding day Credit: Family photo

Diana Mager suffered from chronic anxiety, delusions and began to self-harm following the birth of her daughter in November 2011.

The HSBC risk manager was admitted as a voluntary patient to Green Parks House psychiatric unit in Orpington, Kent in June of last year.

Her husband told staff that she was a suicide risk and needed to be kept on 24-hour watch.

Mrs Mager was initially placed under one-to-one observation but staff judged her symptoms to have improved and she was allowed to leave the unit for up to 30 minutes unsupervised.

Diana with baby Sofia Credit: Family photo

But on the first occasion she was allowed to leave, Diana reached the Tate Modern and tried to kill herself by jumping from a roof terrace of the building. She was stopped by a member of the public.

On another, she managed to smuggle a sharp, serrated kitchen knife into the unit.

Despite these incidents - and a note stating that "Diana is at very high risk of killing herself" in her medical records - staff were only checking on Mrs Mager at 15 minute intervals when she took her own life in the early hours of 8 August 2012.

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