Care system blamed over suicide increase

Swindon Advertiser: The chairman of the Swindon Listening line Ann Mooney The chairman of the Swindon Listening line Ann Mooney

THOSE most at risk of taking their own lives in Swindon are being forsaken at their lowest ebb by a flawed care system, a charity has claimed in the wake of news that the town’s suicide rate more than doubled over the last eight years.

New figures released by the council revealed that 26 suicides were reported in 2012 compared to 11 in 2005.

There was a consistent rise every year, except 2011, during that time peroid in Swindon.

Evidence suggested, a local authority report said, that there was a link between the recent national rise in suicide rates and the financial crisis that began in 2008, particularly with regard to unemployment.

Yet despite a recent drive to boost prevention, identifying those most at risk and cross-agency work in Swindon to ensure they don’t fall through cracks in the system, little progress has been made according to mental health charity Service Users Network Swindon (SUNS).

The organisation, which supports mental health patients and set up its own dedicated night-time helpline, said the figures were unsurprising as patients often felt they could not trust the very services supposed to care for them.

Chairman Ann Mooney, who suffers from mental health issues herself and is under the constant supervision of a carer, said: “I’m not surprised at all by the figures. We get between 50 and 150 calls every night on our phone line from people who feel suicidal.

“We listen to them. They all tell us they’ve called the mental health service’s crisis team but they were useless. Often what they do is just call the police.

“I called them myself once at 7pm and I got a call back at 12.02am. Someone could die during that time. There just was nobody for me to talk to.”

According to information collated on around 85 people who committed suicide between 2006 and 2012 by Swindon Suicide Audit, 69 per cent were male, aged 42 on average and 88 per cent were white British.

The council report, to be presented to members of the health overview and scrutiny committee today, proposes putting in place a closer partnership between agencies and the health service to increase work with at risk groups.

An AWP spokesman said: “AWP investigates all unexpected deaths to learn any lessons to improve patient safety. Increases in Swindon’s numbers most likely reflect the recent national increase in suicide rates.

“We promote a suicide prevention culture across all our services. In Swindon, we are working with GPs and other frontline partner agencies to ensure that people who self- harm receive the support they need.”

Comments (6)

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8:23am Wed 29 Jan 14

house on the hill says...

Having almost lost a close family member to suicide I would completely agree. they were repeatedly let down by those paid to help them who just wouldn't listen and if we hadn't taken matters into our hands they wouldn't be with us today not to mention the stresses and strains put on the family totally uneccessarily.

Most of them were clearly in the wrong job with their attitudes and complacency to what was right in front of their faces. There have been more than a few deaths directly attributable to the failings of these people who clearly don't seem to care and take no responsibility for their actions.

This needs putting right now, not in about 10 years after all the meetings and consultations and focus groups that the council love to have before being able to make a decision which is usually the same one they would have mad at the outset. How many more need to die before this is put right, they are a disgrace.
Having almost lost a close family member to suicide I would completely agree. they were repeatedly let down by those paid to help them who just wouldn't listen and if we hadn't taken matters into our hands they wouldn't be with us today not to mention the stresses and strains put on the family totally uneccessarily. Most of them were clearly in the wrong job with their attitudes and complacency to what was right in front of their faces. There have been more than a few deaths directly attributable to the failings of these people who clearly don't seem to care and take no responsibility for their actions. This needs putting right now, not in about 10 years after all the meetings and consultations and focus groups that the council love to have before being able to make a decision which is usually the same one they would have mad at the outset. How many more need to die before this is put right, they are a disgrace. house on the hill

8:54am Wed 29 Jan 14

jax66 says...

I have a close relative who has a history of mental health problems. This person has been totally totally let down by the system. We had to drop everything and literally run to help save the life of this person 3 times in two weeks last year when his health went down hill and the system did nothing to help..The crisis team were useless they didnt want to know. We ended up in A and E twice because we just didnt have anywhere else to go. The second time the crisis team would only speak to him on the phone whilst were were there and deemed him well enough to go home and be alone. He clearly was not.. After that he spent 10 months as an inpatient in the mental health care system. He did attempt suicide again whilst an inpatient and guess who had to run again and sort it all out. Its is totally disgusting. On a happier note. I have another friend who has used SUNS and says they are brilliant. They have helped her so much when nobody else was there. They made a huge difference. So thats great to hear. Keep up the good work guys.
I have a close relative who has a history of mental health problems. This person has been totally totally let down by the system. We had to drop everything and literally run to help save the life of this person 3 times in two weeks last year when his health went down hill and the system did nothing to help..The crisis team were useless they didnt want to know. We ended up in A and E twice because we just didnt have anywhere else to go. The second time the crisis team would only speak to him on the phone whilst were were there and deemed him well enough to go home and be alone. He clearly was not.. After that he spent 10 months as an inpatient in the mental health care system. He did attempt suicide again whilst an inpatient and guess who had to run again and sort it all out. Its is totally disgusting. On a happier note. I have another friend who has used SUNS and says they are brilliant. They have helped her so much when nobody else was there. They made a huge difference. So thats great to hear. Keep up the good work guys. jax66

3:27pm Wed 29 Jan 14

underdogs says...

An important article Marion - and well done to the adver for publishing this. It appears the public are starting to provide a considerable amount more about their experiences of the poor services they and the ones dear to them have received from the Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership. Having had considerable dealings with this not fit for purpose organisation, I would like to go through your report in some detail. Great first paragraph, SUNS says it as it is - maybe even holds back from stating more of the truth about AWP. I remember Swindon MIND press release about AWP in April 2012 written by a well respected professional Kathleen Aitken, identifying issues raised with AWP over a 6 year period never being addressed, the workforce being damaged and demoralised in 2006 when significant changes were forced through without meaningful consultation, further re organisations, staff having to re apply for their jobs !, workers not knowing which team they will be working with until they arrive at work, major problems about the numbers of targets that have to be met, staff are stressed and have less time to support service users, in November 2011 60 recommendations were identified in homicide reports, and early in 2012 the Southern Health Authority sent in a team who found the same issues existed as were there at the time of the homicides many years earlier ! " This is extremely disturbing ". " Swindon mental health services are not being served well by AWP ", the style of management is ' TOP DOWN ' . Many good staff - if only they were working in the right culture ", Commissioners need to act quickly to plan the way forward " - did they - it appears not ? Following Kathleens statement - we then found out about " Review of Governance and Management Arrangements at AWP by NHS South of England - a damning 22 page report that identified many many failings within AWP managements - maybe the root of the problems ? Then in August 2012 came " Independent Investigation Report into the alleged Falsification and or Alteration of Service User Records at AWP - after 30 Social Workers employed by Wiltshire Council but working in AWP Whistleblew thy were being instructed to alt and falsify patients records - this 28 page report is still on a FOI website if you search for it - GET A COPY OF YOUR RECORDS NOW !! The CCG were at todays AWP board meeting, held in a tiny cramped room in Swindon - where this article in yesterdays Adver was discussed - lets just wait for the denials, spin and cover up to appear now on their website and in the statements they will undoubtedly issue to the press. If only we, the patients and those closest to the patients who continue to suffer from their substandard service could have the opportunity to tell it as it really is at AWP . I feel if the whole truth came out about their numerous failings and neglect over the past 12 years, they would be closed down. Shame the Commissioners of the service, and those who inspect it allow this to continue !
An important article Marion - and well done to the adver for publishing this. It appears the public are starting to provide a considerable amount more about their experiences of the poor services they and the ones dear to them have received from the Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership. Having had considerable dealings with this not fit for purpose organisation, I would like to go through your report in some detail. Great first paragraph, SUNS says it as it is - maybe even holds back from stating more of the truth about AWP. I remember Swindon MIND press release about AWP in April 2012 written by a well respected professional Kathleen Aitken, identifying issues raised with AWP over a 6 year period never being addressed, the workforce being damaged and demoralised in 2006 when significant changes were forced through without meaningful consultation, further re organisations, staff having to re apply for their jobs !, workers not knowing which team they will be working with until they arrive at work, major problems about the numbers of targets that have to be met, staff are stressed and have less time to support service users, in November 2011 60 recommendations were identified in homicide reports, and early in 2012 the Southern Health Authority sent in a team who found the same issues existed as were there at the time of the homicides many years earlier ! " This is extremely disturbing ". " Swindon mental health services are not being served well by AWP ", the style of management is ' TOP DOWN ' . Many good staff - if only they were working in the right culture ", Commissioners need to act quickly to plan the way forward " - did they - it appears not ? Following Kathleens statement - we then found out about " Review of Governance and Management Arrangements at AWP by NHS South of England - a damning 22 page report that identified many many failings within AWP managements - maybe the root of the problems ? Then in August 2012 came " Independent Investigation Report into the alleged Falsification and or Alteration of Service User Records at AWP - after 30 Social Workers employed by Wiltshire Council but working in AWP Whistleblew thy were being instructed to alt and falsify patients records - this 28 page report is still on a FOI website if you search for it - GET A COPY OF YOUR RECORDS NOW !! The CCG were at todays AWP board meeting, held in a tiny cramped room in Swindon - where this article in yesterdays Adver was discussed - lets just wait for the denials, spin and cover up to appear now on their website and in the statements they will undoubtedly issue to the press. If only we, the patients and those closest to the patients who continue to suffer from their substandard service could have the opportunity to tell it as it really is at AWP . I feel if the whole truth came out about their numerous failings and neglect over the past 12 years, they would be closed down. Shame the Commissioners of the service, and those who inspect it allow this to continue ! underdogs

4:01pm Wed 29 Jan 14

underdogs says...

continues ... So a local authority report suggests financial issues were the trend and cause of the increase - or is it maybe the local authorities have allowed AWP to fester and get worse year after year for 12 years ? Why do the local authority not accept the facts as they are - AWP has been a failing organisation for many many years - yet not held to account by those who commission their services - easier to cover up the truth about AWP ? Cross agency working in Wiltshire doesnt appear to work - if you have a ' WEAK PARTNER ' and the stronger ones dont exert their authority and power, the weak partner remains weak - from my experience this is what is happening. TOO MANY CRACKS ! ! SUNS gets 50 - 150 calls EVERY NIGHT - SURELY that tells Swindon and Wiltshire LOUD AND CLEAR there are serious failings at AWP ????? Blinkered or what ?? SUNS are great - and good on them for not holding back - but of course you are one of MANY ORGANISATIONS that have identified the failings at AWP for some TWELVE YEARS now - but whats improved ? A five hours wait for a call back after making an urgent call to the crisis team !!!!! - I wonder if the crisis team on duty finished watching their favourite TV programmes for five hours before ringing back, or are things so bad they too get 50 - 150 calls each night - does anyone know ? I trust the adver will publish the findings of the report being presented to the Health Overview Committee - and it appears on the Councils website & AWPs too ? As is usual, AWP appears to be suffering spin and denial symptoms - never the whole truth of the matter. Their image is far more important than the patients - and as for them learning lessons - they still havent learnt lessons from their failings in 2002 - 2006 - indeed their failings then are being repeated to this day in my opinion from what ive read in a number of Coroners reports . The same old failings time and time again - NO CARE AT AWP, with the exception I must say of a few good frontline staff. When you get to the £50,000 - £120,000 brigade - directors and senior managers / consultants that is where the main issues are in my opinion, based on my experiences with them . Have the Adver and patients seen the concerns raised by GPs and AWPs partner agencies about AWP - it appears many are complaining of serious issues - but the complaints fall on deaf ears !
continues ... So a local authority report suggests financial issues were the trend and cause of the increase - or is it maybe the local authorities have allowed AWP to fester and get worse year after year for 12 years ? Why do the local authority not accept the facts as they are - AWP has been a failing organisation for many many years - yet not held to account by those who commission their services - easier to cover up the truth about AWP ? Cross agency working in Wiltshire doesnt appear to work - if you have a ' WEAK PARTNER ' and the stronger ones dont exert their authority and power, the weak partner remains weak - from my experience this is what is happening. TOO MANY CRACKS ! ! SUNS gets 50 - 150 calls EVERY NIGHT - SURELY that tells Swindon and Wiltshire LOUD AND CLEAR there are serious failings at AWP ????? Blinkered or what ?? SUNS are great - and good on them for not holding back - but of course you are one of MANY ORGANISATIONS that have identified the failings at AWP for some TWELVE YEARS now - but whats improved ? A five hours wait for a call back after making an urgent call to the crisis team !!!!! - I wonder if the crisis team on duty finished watching their favourite TV programmes for five hours before ringing back, or are things so bad they too get 50 - 150 calls each night - does anyone know ? I trust the adver will publish the findings of the report being presented to the Health Overview Committee - and it appears on the Councils website & AWPs too ? As is usual, AWP appears to be suffering spin and denial symptoms - never the whole truth of the matter. Their image is far more important than the patients - and as for them learning lessons - they still havent learnt lessons from their failings in 2002 - 2006 - indeed their failings then are being repeated to this day in my opinion from what ive read in a number of Coroners reports . The same old failings time and time again - NO CARE AT AWP, with the exception I must say of a few good frontline staff. When you get to the £50,000 - £120,000 brigade - directors and senior managers / consultants that is where the main issues are in my opinion, based on my experiences with them . Have the Adver and patients seen the concerns raised by GPs and AWPs partner agencies about AWP - it appears many are complaining of serious issues - but the complaints fall on deaf ears ! underdogs

7:05pm Thu 30 Jan 14

trolley dolley says...

It is quoted that SUNS receives 50 to 150 calls per night, are these calls from 50 to 150 different individuals or are they repeat calls from a few people.

There is a big difference.
It is quoted that SUNS receives 50 to 150 calls per night, are these calls from 50 to 150 different individuals or are they repeat calls from a few people. There is a big difference. trolley dolley

7:16pm Thu 30 Jan 14

jax66 says...

It really doesnt matter if its 50 or 150 different people. Its plain to see - people need help. What about the vunerable or elderly or people who dont have access to mobile phones or internet? Maybe they are not aware of the good people like SUNS etc. I would think that would at least double the numbers. Also a lot of people who are so desperate feel they just cannot pick up the phone or email or text etc. The true numbers are much higher than anyone can believe I would think.
It really doesnt matter if its 50 or 150 different people. Its plain to see - people need help. What about the vunerable or elderly or people who dont have access to mobile phones or internet? Maybe they are not aware of the good people like SUNS etc. I would think that would at least double the numbers. Also a lot of people who are so desperate feel they just cannot pick up the phone or email or text etc. The true numbers are much higher than anyone can believe I would think. jax66

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