'My world stopped turning' after friend Emily Moore took her life in mental health care

Friends of Emily Moore, who took her own life four years ago, share their memories and experience of grief with reporter Katie Cole

A friend of an 18-year-old from County Durham who took her own life said her "world stopped turning" the day she died.

Eve Bainbridge's school friend Emily Moore, had just reached her milestone birthday days before being found unresponsive at a mental health hospital.

Emily, who had been under the care of the Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, at its Lanchester Road Hospital, near Durham, died two days later in February 2020.

Speaking to ITV Tyne Tees four years on, one of Emily's friends, Eve, said the impact of her loss, and the day she died, has had a lasting effect.

"That is the day that my world stopped turning in my opinion, everything else, just everyone else's life seemed to keep going and move on," she said. "But I'm still stuck in that same day on repeat all of the time.

"I didn't go to university or do any of the things that used to be important to me because I just spent so much time trying to survive to the next day.

"My life has grown around the grief, but things don't feel better in the sense that I have to wake up every single morning, and I will never see Emily again."

Eve and Caitlin say their lives have been changed by the loss of their best friend Emily Moore. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Also still feeling that grief is the third member of the best friend trio, Caitlin Stanley.

Standing in a park in their home town of Shildon, which holds a lot of happy memories for the girls, Caitlin said adjusting to life without her friend was difficult.

"I think each day gets harder as time goes on," she said. "It doesn't feel like four years. It feels like yesterday since we lost her.

"Even when I'm driving in the car and some of Emily's funeral songs come on the radio and it brings back all the memories.

"I mean, you have a little cry on the way home. I think just so many little things... remind me of Emily."

Emily Moore was 16 when she was first admitted to a mental health hospital. Credit: Family handout

Emily was 16 when she was first admitted to a mental health hospital. Her friends would visit her regularly.

They never imagined she would never come home.

"I thought that, you know, if she stayed at home, that things might not turn out so well," said Eve. "And it was the case that, you know, it's a hospital and they're there to help and, you know, make you feel better."

Caitlin added: "Knowing that it could have possibly been prevented makes it ten times worse.

"They didn't provide the care that they should have done, and that's what hurts the most."

Even through Emily's hospital days, the trio spent their time thinking ahead to their future.

Eve and Caitlin look back at memories with best friend Emily Moore. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Eve continued: "When she was in the hospital, she used to text me all the time. Me, her and Eve, wanted to go to Tenerife and that was our little girl's holiday planned out.

"And obviously, we didn't get a chance to do that. That obviously hurts that we didn't get a chance to do everything that we all planned growing up together."

Memories are all Emily’s friends have now. They will make new ones - but just wish it could have been different.

"I do see life a lot differently now in the sense that I have enough time to do everything that both of us wanted to do," added Eve.

"She loved the elephants, so she wanted to go to a sanctuary in Thailand to make sure that she could know that these rescued elephants were getting the best care that they could.

"And it's just things like that, you know, trying to see the beauty in every day because not everyone gets to have many more days."

Emily Moore had dreams of visiting an elephant sanctuary in Thailand. Credit: Family handout

On Monday (11 March), the Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust was found not guilty of providing unsafe care and treatment to Emily at Lanchester Road Hospital.

She had been a patient at West Lane Hospital in Middlesbrough, which was shut down by the Care Quality Commission in 2019. The trust had previously accepted there were failures in her care at this site.

Brent Kilmurray, chief executive at Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It’s hard to imagine how difficult the past few days, weeks and indeed years must have been for Emily’s family and friends. I’d like to say again how deeply sorry we are for their loss.

“Sadly, nothing positive comes from this. We have acknowledged and apologised for unacceptable failings in Emily’s care while she was at West Lane Hospital – that remains the case. Our position on that has not changed.

"However, this charge related to Emily’s care record at a different hospital.

"During the trial, we heard from independent expert witnesses who said that her care was safe, appropriate and compassionate, and we don’t believe this warranted a prosecution by the CQC.

“That is why we had to defend this case.”

Are you or someone you know struggling with your mental health?

Find advice and support for children and young people here:

Where children can find mental health help in the North East and North Yorkshire

Find general advice and support for anyone struggling with their mental health here:

Mental health: Where to find help in the North East if you are struggling

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