Student nurse took own life after writing letter criticising mental health support

Video report by ITV Cymru Wales national correspondent Rob Osborne

The family of a student nurse who took her own life just days after she wrote a letter criticising mental health support have taken on the challenge of improving services and provision themselves.

Bronwen Morgan took her own life in August 2020 at the age of 26 while training to be a mental health nurse.

In the days leading up to her death, she wrote a letter criticising the treatment she had received from mental health services and calling for mental health services to change.

In the letter, Bronwen spoke of how she was "desperate" and felt she had been let down.

Now, her family are looking to improve the way other young people in Wales receive support.

Bronwen was always willing to support other people with their struggles, ultimately training to become a mental health nurse

Speaking to ITV News, Bronwen's parents, Haydn and Jayne Morgan, described their daughter as "beautiful, warm and kind hearted person" and the "most organised, on the ball, caring, compassionate, dedicated and generous daughter".

Haydn said on several occasions, he and Jayne pleaded with the mental health services in their local health board for help, as they feared they could not keep Bronwen safe.

Bronwen had made previous attempts to take her own life, but her parents say it was the letter she wrote just days before her death that was the catalyst to not allow her death to be another statistic.

“It was after we saw this letter that we realised how badly she felt let down," Jayne continued.

“That then spurred us on to progress this and push it forward. The letter really was the start of everything. Had we not seen this letter, we probably wouldn’t be here talking to you now.”

Bronwen's parents, Haydn and Jayne, are desperate for lessons to be learned from their daughter's death

Spurred on by the words Bronwen wrote, her family has now set up ‘Bronwen’s Wish’.

It aims to build wellbeing pods in schools, the first of which has been erected in Lakeside Primary School in Cyncoed.

The pods are intended to provide children with mental health and wellbeing resources, encouraging them to open up and talk about any struggles they may have.

It is an initiative that has the support and help of university architecture schools in Swansea and Cardiff.

“If we could wave a magic wand, we would love to provide one for every school that wants a pod,” Haydn continued.

“I’ve spoken to dozens of schools and they have said ‘absolutely, we would love one’.”

Despite her understanding of mental health, Bronwen never believed she was involved enough in her treatment planning.

Bronwen’s family are also campaigning for families to be more involved in mental health treatment pathways.

They want shared decision making and monthly care plan reviews to be a legal requirement.

Jayne said: “I think the mental health system is completely broken. I don’t think it is fit for purpose.

“The wheels are turning too slowly, and we are going to lose way too many of our young people if we don’t act soon.

“We felt in Bronwen’s place, she was never treated as an individual. She was treated with a blanket approach.

“It was service led instead of being patient led and they don’t have enough resources.”

A petition to the Senedd has reached the required 5,000 signatures to be debated in the Welsh Parliament, but it is yet to be discussed in its own right.

“This is something Bronwen felt strongly about," Haydn continued.

"She wasn’t involved in most of the decisions in her care plan. We weren’t involved either.

“We were with her all the time, we could see she was declining, but she was never really involved in decision making.”

Bronwen represented Wales in 'white collar' boxing for charity, where she was nicknamed 'Bombproof Bron'

A spokesperson for Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, said: “Our thoughts and condolences remain with Bronwen’s family.

"The Health Board would welcome the opportunity to further meet with the family to discuss the work that we are doing to make improvements in the ways to involve people, and with the person’s consent, their families in the planning of their own care.

"We are continually refining our approach to complex and challenging clinical situations where people have a high risk of self-harm.”

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