Tragic 18-year-old takes her own life in adult mental health unit
all credits/source: INQUEST
originally published: 28th November 2014
Updates on this case listed at the foot of this item
A jury has delivered their critical conclusions regarding the death of Rebecca Louise Overy who died on the 24 June 2013 at the Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham. Rebecca was 18 years old when she was found unresponsive with a ligature in her room at Annesley House – an adult secure unit. She was a sectioned patient at the time of her death and was allegedly on 5 minute observations due to the fact that she was deemed a suicide risk.
After her death it became apparent that during the first six weeks of her admission she had approximately 40 incidents of self-harm.
The inquest has addressed issues around Rebecca’s transition to adult services and has considered whether more measures could have been put in place to safeguard her. It also focused on the quality of care she received at Annesley House and the adequacy of her observations on the night she was found.
Rebecca had been in a secure adolescent psychiatric unit from the age of 13 years where she had an established network of support and friends of her own age. Her mother described her as being a bubbly teenager. She had posters in her room and enjoyed making jewellery.
She had enrolled in an animal care course and had planned to do some voluntary work. Her doctors were very encouraging and led her to believe that she had a future. Rebecca believed that she would be returning back home after she turned 18. Instead, a day after she turned 18 she was moved to an adult mental health facility. Her mother stated that her spark disappeared, and she became despondent.
The Jury found that Rebecca’s long history of suicide and self-harm escalated after her speedy transition to adult mental health care without proper planning, cancellation of visits and tight restrictions. Her observations were also reduced from constant to every five minutes which they stated gave her the window of opportunity to prepare a ligature.
Her Majesty’s Assistant Coroner Ms Stephanie Haskey will also be making a Prevention of Death Report to the Department of Health, addressing in particular the transfer of adolescents into adult units and the lack of provisions for the care of young people aged 18-24.
Comments prior to Rebecca’s inquest:
Rebecca’s mother and stepfather hope that the inquest will address issues around Rebecca’s transition to adult services and whether more measures could have been put in place to safeguard her.
They also want to find out about the quality of care she received at Annesley House and the adequacy of her observations on the night she was found.
Rebecca’s mum Kathryn Wilson said:
“Rebecca’s death has destroyed our lives. She was only 18 at the brink of being a woman and had all her life ahead of her. She was in a place where she should have been cared for. The world is a much sadder place for us without her”
Deborah Coles, co-director of INQUEST said:
“This is a very disturbing death of a highly vulnerable young woman held in secure detention to keep her safe. This inquest must ensure far reaching scrutiny in particular the transition from adolescent to adult services, only a day after she turned 18”
INQUEST has been working with the mother and stepfather of Rebecca Louise Overy since her death in June 2013. They are represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group member Gemma Vine from Lester Morrill Solicitors and Ian Goldsack from St Johns Buildings.