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Dudley and Walsall health trust probed in wake of Wolverhampton woman's suicide

Dudley | News | Published:

A mental health trust will investigate the treatment received by a Black Country woman prior to her death after concerns were raised by her family.

The Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust will look into the circumstances surrounding the death of Bilston woman Glenys Hardman, aged 57.

She was found hanged at her home in Crowesbridge Mews, Bilston, on January 18.

Her family raised a number of concerns about her care at an inquest into her death at Smethwick Council House including that she had been advised not to say she had suicidal thoughts on a mental health questionnaire.

Christopher Hardman, her husband of 31 years, told the inquest his wife was a perfectionist and had been made redundant by a firm she had worked for for 25 years, although she was then able to find alternative work at British Gas.

However, though she completed the training, she believed she had not done it as well as she could and left, causing her more anxiety about money which led to her being given Citalopram medication by her doctor Dr Andakumar.

But when this did not work, her husband asked for a higher dose, though her GP advised allowing extra time for the drugs to take effect.

She subsequently visited a mental health counsellor and filled in the questionnaire asking if she had ever thought about self harm or suicide, telling her husband she would tick the 'yes' box, though she subsequently did not.

On the day of her death, Mr Hardman had gone to work in Worcester as a support worker and was informed by his neighbour by phone.

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Dr Andakumar told the inquest he did not want to increase her medication because of the side effects, while he deemed she did not intend to commit suicide.

Shaun Joe, a mental health nurse who saw Mrs Hardman, said he also placed her at a low risk of self harm and recommended therapy, relaxation and stress management.

Black Country coroner Zafar Siddique recorded a verdict of suicide, but suggested the agencies responsible for her care should have acted more quickly in relation to the questionnaire, especially as it raised alarm bells.

Following the inquest, Steve Kitson, a relative of Mrs Hardman, said: "I am not surprised, but I think that lessons can be learned. I think process and procedures can be looked at."

Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, chief executive Gary Graham, after the inquest, said: "We were very sad to learn of the death of Glenys Hardman and we would like to express our sincerest condolences to the family.

We are continuing our thorough investigation of her recent contact with our services to see if there are any lessons to be learnt."

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