Grieving mum's 'heartfelt plea' for better mental healthcare after son's suicide in Staffordshire

Beck's mum, Frances Bromley said she believes if things had been done differently, her son's life may have been saved. Credit: BPM

The mother of a teenage boy who took his own life after suffering with his mental health has made a 'heartfelt plea' to the NHS and medical community to better support young people who are struggling.

Beck Bromley, 19, died on 24 November last year at the Royal Stoke University Hospital four days after a suicide attempt in his family home in Leek, Staffordshire.

An inquest has concluded the former Westwood College pupil died by suicide, and his mother delivered an emotional statement about preventing similar tragedies for other families.

Beck's mum, Frances Bromley said if things had been done differently, she believes her son's life may have been saved.

She also asked medical professionals not to turn desperate families away when they are concerned for the mental wellbeing of their loves ones, and to communicate better with them about the treatment available.

Mrs Bromley told the inquest: "We would like to use this opportunity to make a heartfelt plea, not only on behalf of the one-in-50 people in the UK who will at some time experience the symptoms of bipolar disorder, but also on behalf of their families, friends and extended communities. 

"I am standing here today as a mother, grieving the loss of her son. And I am in the gut-wrenching position to see things that, if done differently, might, just might have saved our son's life.

"To the medical community, I beg you to find a way to help those whose thinking is so impaired that they cannot help themselves.

"When families come to you pleading for help, don't turn them away because the child is over 18 and at the height of their first manic episode refuse to request care themselves.

"Remember, when you are communicating with family members of someone in mental distress, that they are not medical professionals, that they are often frightened, sleep deprived, exhausted and confused. Do not simply assume that they know how to best provide care for their loved-ones. 

"Make it a requirement that before any drug that is known to exacerbate suicidal ideation can be prescribed, parents and care-givers must explicitly be informed of the dangers and together with a medical provider must complete a written suicide safety plan like that offered on the Papyrus website.

"To drug makers, if there is potential for your drug to exacerbate or lead to suicidal ideation, like the drug prescribed to Beck, to include a suicide safety plan template with the drug packaging.

"To NHS policymakers, according to NHS data, bipolar disorder often develops between the age of 15 and 19. Develop a system to help young people over the age of 18 navigate a medical system when they are in crisis.

"To the public, death by suicide and suicidal ideation is caused by a life-threatening mental illness - that is why the NHS tells you to call 999 in the case of a suicide attempt or self-harm. Together, we can all help prevent suicide."

Beck Bromley, 19, was a keen mathematician and surfer who had just finished his first year at the University of Manchester. Credit: BPM

Mr Bromley was a triple A* student at Westwood college before completing his first year of studies at the University of Manchester.

His mother says she now has to 'figure out a way' to deal with the painful loss of her son, who shared a smile with everyone he met.

Mrs Bromley added: "We are all unique. Our communities, successes and failures build our resilience in life. With the help of my community, I now have to figure out a way to carry the pain of losing my son to suicide. 

"I am trying my best to keep calm and accept the things I cannot change and have the courage to change the things I can.

"Beck was a mathematician, a musician, a surfer, a best friend, a brother, a son, but perhaps most important was the smile that he shared with everyone he met. I know that no one wanted Beck to die. Please let his smile be a call to action."

The inquest into Mr Bromley's death heard he became known to mental health services in August 2022 and underwent family talking sessions and acupuncture, but received no one-to-one support.

Clinical psychiatrist, Dr Laura Stevenson, said: "In my opinion, the care Beck received was completely appropriate and reasonable. From the initial referral to the team, they acted appropriately, their assessment was good."

The coroner ruled out implementing a prevention of future deaths report regarding Mr Bromley's case.

Mr Howe said: "The timescale is fairly quick deterioration, but it didn't feel that way to the family. There was an early intervention. The difference I have to ask is regarding the level of care provided and its impact. What could have been done and that is where the legal test is.

"I must stress that the balance of probability does not equal balance of possibility. I am not satisfied that anything could have been done differently. I am not satisfied that the drugs prescribed did produce suicidal tendencies. 

"There is nothing else I can see that would change that. I do find that he did intend to end his life so my conclusion is of suicide."

On Friday evening (23 June), family and friends staged a charity football match in Mr Bromley's memory at Leek Town FC. 

For mental health support and advice:

For more advice and links click here.