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Grieving sister: 'They have failed monstrously and should resign'

"They've failed monstrously and should resign" - the words of a woman whose sister killed herself after being discharged from a psychiatric unit run by Southern Health.

Jo Deering from New Milton suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and took an overdose after being sent home to look after her mother, who had dementia.

Now, as the NHS Trust faces fresh criticism from the Care Quality Commission, Maureen Rickman has been voicing HER concerns about patient safety and the management culture. Rachel Hepworth spoke to her.

Jo Deering was sent home to care for her 89 year old mother Credit: Maureen Rickman

Jo Deering died in 2011, aged 52, months after being sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

She'd been discharged from Waterford House in New Milton, after treatment for paranoid schizophrenia, and sent home where she was the main carer for her 89-year-old mother, who had dementia.

Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust admitted it could have made better decisions about her care.

Maureen continues to demand answers about her sister's care Credit: Maureen Rickman

Southern Health released this statement in relation to the case.

The team supporting Jo Deering were deeply saddened in 2011 to learn of her death, and we take this opportunity to apologise once again to her family.

Following Jo’s death in 2011 we carried out an investigation to fully understand the circumstances and whether we could have done anything differently.

We recognised that Jo had a role as a carer and provided community support to help her with this. We also found our decision-making process about granting leave, and how we communicated this with Jo and her family could have been better.

Robust actions to learn from this incident were fully implemented at the time.

We have met with and apologised to Jo’s family and have been in regular communication since 2011, making every effort to reach a meaningful resolution.

– Dr Lesley Stevens, Medical Director from Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust was issued a warning notice yesterday by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following an inspection in January.

It's been told to significantly improve protection of mental health patients.

Last year an independent report blamed a 'failure of leadership' for failing to investigate the unexplained deaths of hundreds of patients.

The trust said it was "completely focused" on tackling the concerns.

Julie shares her experience to help others with mental health problems

She wants everyone to know that mental illness doesn't have to be a life sentence.

Julie Roberts is anxious to let everyone know how she, personally, has recovered.

Julie, who lives in Winchester has been taking part in a pioneering scheme aimed at helping survivors, and improving psychiatric care for other patients.

She's been talking to Rachel Hepworth.

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  1. Tom Savvides

Less use of police cells for mental health patients

Almost eight hundred people with serious mental health issues are put in police cells in Sussex every year, even if they haven't committed a crime. That's more people than anywhere else in the country. Now a new scheme between the police and the NHS means the majority of people experiencing mental health problems are now being assessed and treated in specialist hospitals. Tom Savvides reports from Crawley with interviews from the Chief Constable of Sussex Giles York, Vincent Badu from the Sussex Partnership NHS Trust and Home Office Minister Karen Bradley.

New online men's mental health screening helping thousands

Thousands visit the Heads Up campaign's website Credit: Heads Up

A mental health campaign in Buckinghamshire has reached over 160,000 people in four weeks.

"Heads up" was started by the county council to help men who might be feeling feeling low, struggling with stress or money problems or feeling anxious. People can take part in online screening to assess how they might be feeling.

To visit the website go to: www.thisisheadsup.org

More than 1,000 deaths "not investigated by Southern NHS Trust"

Connor Sparrowhawk drowned in the bath at Slade House in Headington Credit: ITV

Breaking: a report says that the unexpected deaths of more than 1,000 people have not been investigated by the NHS. Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust has been blamed for a "failure of leadership". The investigation was carried out by NHS England. The report was commissioned after 18-year-old Connor Sparrowhawk drowned in a bath following an epileptic seizure.

We would not usually comment on a leaked draft report. However, we want to avoid unnecessary anxiety amongst the people we support, their carers and families as their welfare is our priority.

There are serious concerns about the draft report’s interpretation of the evidence. We fully accept that our reporting processes following a patient death have not always been good enough. We have taken considerable measures to strengthen our investigation and learning from deaths including increased monitoring and scrutiny.

The review has not assessed the quality of care provided by the Trust. Instead it looked at the way in which the Trust recorded and investigated deaths of people with whom we had one or more contacts in the preceding 12 months. In almost all cases referred to in the report, the Trust was not the main provider of care.

We would stress the draft report contains no evidence of more deaths than expected in the last four years of people with mental health needs or learning disabilities for the size and age of the population we serve.

When the final report is published by NHS England we will review the recommendations and make any further changes necessary to ensure the processes through which we report, investigate and learn from deaths are of the highest possible standard.

If you are directly affected by this issue, call this NHS number: 0300 003 0025.”

– Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

We commissioned an independent report because it was clear that there are significant concerns. We are determined that, for the sake of past, present and future patients and their families, all the issues should be examined and any lessons clearly identified and acted upon.

The final full independent report will be published as soon as possible, and all the agencies involved stand ready to take appropriate action.

– NHS England

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Combating anxiety is the main focus of Mental Health awareness week.

Anxiety is one of the leading causes of mental health illness and the main focus of this year's Mental Health Awareness week. See our report by David Wood.

If you need help

Contact Mind on 0300 123 3393 or mind.org.uk

Sane on 0845 767 8000 or sane.org.uk

You can talk to the Samaritans on 08457 909090

or NHS Direct on 0845 4647

Mental health nurses based at police stations & courts in £25m pilot scheme

A new pilot scheme posting mental health nurses at police stations and courts is to be trialled at ten locations nationwide - including Dorset, Sussex, Avon and Wiltshire and South Essex.

The care and support minister Norman Lamb said the project aims to reduce reoffending rates by mentally ill criminals, by ensuring the offenders are treated "as early as possible"

Care & Support Minister Norman Lamb (r), Minister for Policing & Criminal Justice Damian Green (c) with Custody Sergeant Jon Powell Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

The Department of Health said that the majority of people who end up in prison have a mental health problem, a substance misuse problem or a learning disability, and one in four has a severe mental health illness such as depression or psychosis.

Over the next year the £25m scheme will be used to join up police and courts systems with mental health services in Merseyside, London, Avon and Wiltshire, Leicester, Sussex, Dorset, Sunderland and Middlesbrough, Coventry, South Essex and Wakefield.

If the pilot project is successful, the measure will be rolled out across the rest of the country by 2017.

Help for soldiers

Help for soldiers Credit: Press Association

NHS Kent and Medway is investing £150,000 over the next three years in a project to support people who have left or are leaving the armed forces.

There are 130,000 ex-service personnel in Kent and Medway and while evidence suggests they suffer no more mental illness than the general population, they often do not seek help because of the stigma around mental health experienced in the military.

Veterans aged 24 and under are two to three times as likely compared to non-veterans to commit suicide. This age group in particular can find it hard to ask for help when they rejoin civilian life.

Ex-military personnel have higher rates of alcohol misuse than the general population. The Kent and Medway Veterans Needs Assessment found a 16 per cent rate of alcohol misuse among ex-service personnel compared to six per cent in the general population.

Alcohol may be used as a coping strategy for mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder.

ITV Fixers: Mental health support in schools

It's supposed to be the best time of your life…but that's often not the case for many young people.

Government figures show that one in ten children of school age have a diagnosable mental health problem, including anxiety and depression.

The mental health charity, Young Minds, suggests that one in five show signs of an eating disorder.

In our latest update from Fixers - the campaign that gives young people a voice - a young Hampshire woman, who had severe depression and anxiety as a teenager, is on a mission to ensure schools support their pupils.

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