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Daughter slams care of mentally ill mother before she died

By Laura Abernethy

Published 10/08/2016

The daughter of a woman who took her own life has hit out at the care she received as she suffered a paranoid episode in the weeks before her death.

Lyn Moutray (46), from Carrickfergus, was found dead at her home on July 9 last year following a period of mental health problems.

Her family said that she began to become very stressed while studying for a degree in social work alongside working three jobs and caring for her three daughters.

The grandmother-of-two left several jobs because she was paranoid that colleagues were making comments about her and she believed she had a rare condition called Trimethylaminuria (also known as fish odour syndrome).

Throughout the summer of 2014, her mental health deteriorated and she was diagnosed with extreme depression and psychosis.

She had improved by Christmas 2014 and was discharged from the emergency Crisis Response Team in January 2015 and her case was handed over to the Community Mental Health Team.

In March 2015, she told her social worker Irene Parkinson that she would like to reduce her medication as she was mentally well and would like to return to work. To do this, she needed to be referred to a psychiatrist but Ms Parkinson did not arrange this until May 25.

The appointment was arranged for June 23 but during this time, Ms Moutray stopped taking her medication and her paranoia returned.

Her daughters Ashton, Jade and Paige McClean and sister Elaine Hawthorne were concerned that she was now acting on her paranoid thoughts and asked if Ms Moutray could be admitted to hospital but she was not deemed to be a serious risk to herself or others.

On July 9, she had been due to attend her medical review appointment with a psychiatrist but her daughter Jade found her dead at her home that afternoon.

The Coroner Mr Joseph McCrisken concluded that she had taken her own life while the balance of her mind was disturbed.

Her eldest daughter Ashton said: "I'm not angry with my mum's decision to take her own life. I'm angry with the way she was allowed to live in the weeks before the end of her life by the people who were meant to be caring for her."

Mr McCrisken said there was no discharge summary between the CRT and CMHT in January 2016, which would have helped with her care and that there was a delay in securing an appointment for a medical review with a psychologist to discuss her medication. He also said that following her transfer to the CMHT, there was a lack of communication with her family.

"Everyone needs to be pulling in the same direction," he said. "Communication to me seems to be key to make sure the patient is given the best possible care."

Following the case, the Health and Social Care Trust carried out a Serious Adverse Incident report, which gave a number of recommendations.

Mr McCrisken said that reviews are carried out for all patients within six weeks and that policies surrounding final discharge were now being implemented.

They are also working to improve communication with the families of mental health patients.

"I hope that some of the lessons that have been learnt prevent some other families from the same circumstances," he said.

Belfast Telegraph

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