Bristol mum of woman who took her own life says residential facility failed her

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The mother of a young woman who took her own life while in residential care for her mental health says she feels managers missed opportunities to save her.

Jess Durdy was 27-years-old when she took her own life at Link House in Bristol.

She had moved into the facility on October 11 in 2020 and died five days later. A coroner this week recorded a conclusion of death by suicide.

Jess had been placed by the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health partnership (AWP) into a crisis house run by the Missing Link mental health service, but according to Moira Durdy, Jess' mum, the accommodation wasn't suitable for her.

Speaking following the conclusion, she said: "I thought Jess would always be with me. She was the common sense one that would always be there with us. We loved her. She was a lovely, lovely girl.

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"I don't think that place was able to manage her. And I was really alarmed that when she went in there AWP didn't seem to have close oversight of the place.

"I really have concerns about the level of training and understanding.

"They were very well-meaning people there, and I'm sure that place works well for some people, but over three days she was making new disclosures about what she was imagining.

"They were vaguely aware and the vaguely talked about keeping a close eye on her, and perhaps getting in touch with the mental health services. But ultimately they didn't.

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"She was asking for help. On three days. If anyone told me what she told them I wouldn't be leaving them."

In a joint statement AWP & Missing Link said: "The coroner's finding that Jessica was properly supported throughout the time she was under the care of AQP and in the care of Missing Link's Link House Service does not detract from the fact that any life lost to suicide is a tragedy."

'Yet another lost opportunity to prevent future deaths'

Volunteers at INQUEST, a charity providing advice on state-related deaths, say Jess' experience reflects a wider mental health problem.

Jodie Anderson, senior caseworker at INQUEST, said: “Jess’ case is a stark reminder of the often impossible struggle young women in the midst of a mental health crisis face in getting their voices heard.

"From the evidence, Jess could not have been more vocal about her deteriorating mental state and yet staff at Link House did little to raise the alarm.

"Crisis Houses are no safe alternative to psychiatric inpatient care. An over-reliance on these spaces in lieu of NHS beds puts people at real risk.

"It is only through the sheer determination of Jess’ family to have her voice heard through the process that the extent of systemic failings was truly exposed in a highly critical Serious Incident Investigation.

"We do not believe the inquest conclusion reflect these failings. We see in Jess’ case yet another lost opportunity to prevent future deaths."

If you're struggling with your mental health or know someone who is, advice and support can be found here.