Chesterfield woman who died by suicide was not given mental health assessment in ‘timely manner’, inquest hears

An inquest held into the suicide of a much-loved young woman from Chesterfield has heard her care was impacted due to the coronavirus pandemic and staffing issues.

Wednesday, 8th December 2021, 9:43 am

Rebecca Brooks, 34, took her own life at her home on Cobnar Drive on August 16 last year.

Chesterfield Coroner's Court was told Rebecca's GP referred her to the community mental health team for an assessment of possible borderline personality disorder on March 6 last year.

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The family of Chesterfield woman Rebecca Brooks said her 'smile and laughter would light up the room'.

But when Rebecca died, she was still awaiting an initial assessment from the community mental health team which was due to take place on August 27.

Speaking at the conclusion of the hearing on Monday, assistant coroner Matthew Kewley told the court: “The inquest identified issues in the delivery of care to Rebecca by the community mental health team.

“This included the initial assessment not being provided to Rebecca in a timely manner.

“Rebecca’s care was impacted by staffing issues and also the unprecedented impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the delivery of mental health services.

“However, the court was not satisfied that the issues identified in the delivery of care more than minimally contributed to Rebecca’s death.

“The court was satisfied that Rebecca intentionally took her own life on August 16.”

Following the inquest, Rebecca’s family said: “As a family we still feel enough wasn’t done for Rebecca.

“We all miss her every day and our lives changed the day she died.

“She was on the waiting list for an unacceptably long period of time, along with the incorrect name, and there was lack of communication.

“She fell through the gaps and was made to feel insignificant in the midst of already being in a vulnerable state.

“To blame this on Covid seems a easy way out.”

They described her as a ‘good, kind-hearted’ woman.

A spokesperson for Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust said: “We would like to express our deepest condolence to Rebecca's family and friends for their sad loss.

“Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is actively seeking to reduce the waiting times involved in accessing our services, while also providing advice to people while they may be waiting for an appointment.

“We apologise for the delay in being able to offer Rebecca an initial appointment for our service and commit to learning from these circumstances.”

When life is difficult, Samaritans are here – day or night, 365 days a year. You can call them for free on 116 123 or email [email protected] Visit www.samaritans.org for more information.

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