Parents of Plymouth woman say opportunities were missed to save her life

Ruth Mitchell is remembered fondly as a bright, lively person. Credit: Family

The parents of a Plymouth woman with a mental illness who died five years ago say opportunities were missed to save her life.

Ruth Mitchell was found starved to death in her St Budeaux home.

Her parents have spoken to ITV News on the eve of a major report into her death.

Ruth's parents say opportunities were missed to save her life. Credit: Family

Ruth Mitchell is remembered fondly by her parents Russ and Anne, as a bright, lively girl who loved animals and music.

In her teens, she began experimenting with drugs and her parents believe this is when her battle with mental health issues began.

Despite having a partner and young son, Ruth withdrew into herself.

When the family split, she was under the care of mental health services but in 2007 her enhanced care programme was stepped down.

This meant she no longer received home visits from her care coordinator and a professional psychologist.

By this stage Ruth was only seeing her parents once a year and would not allow information to be shared with them.

in 2007 Ruth's enhanced care programme was stepped down. Credit: Family

Ruth's landlord Plymouth City Council was never told of her mental health problems and so never alerted anyone when her gas was cut off in 2008.

Despite a number of contacts with the police both when Ruth was arrested and when they were called out of concern for her welfare, they don't appear to have been connected and there were no links with mental health teams.

Ruth's parents say they repeatedly told mental health services they thought her condition was worsening but nothing was done.

Over the course of four years, Ruth was supposed to have 14 outpatient appointments.

She attended 10 of these and frequently saw different psychologists.

In September 2012 Ruth was found dead in her home by police after a neighbour had become concerned for her welfare.

At this time seven months had passed since Ruth was last seen by a mental health professional.

Her father says she was not given the support she needed.

The safeguarding adults review released tomorrow is the latest in a five-year battle by the Mitchell family over Ruth's death.

The report will not look to apportion blame but will attempt to establish whether lessons can be learned to help the way local professions and agencies work together.