Two opportunities to help ‘manic depressive’ journalist Sally Brampton from St Leonards were missed before she took her own life, an inquest heard today (Tuesday, October 25).
Concerns raised in March and April about the former Sunday Times agony aunt’s suicidal crisis were not followed up by mental health professionals before she was found in the sea in May.
Ms Brampton, of Stanhope Place, was thought to have recovered but the day after she wrote her farewell Psychologies magazine column, she was discovered at Galley Hill.
Her friends were concerned for her after she attempted take her own life in August, 2014, when her Sunday Times column was cancelled.
In March, she contacted her private psychiatrist ‘out of the blue’ and told him about suicidal thoughts which prompted him to write to Ms Brampton’s GP Nicholas MacCarthy explaining his concerns.
Dr MacCarthy then met with her to assess her mental state before referring her to the local crisis team as he shared the psychiatrist’s fears.
The crisis team agreed to call Ms Brampton the following day but never did due to ‘human error’, according to clinical safety lead Christine Henham.
A few weeks later Ms Brampton met a different doctor at the Carisbrooke Surgery saying she felt better and had stopped taking the medication prescribed by the psychiatrist.
This led to a referral to the community mental health team and she was due to be contacted but died beforehand.
However the psychiatrist’s letter was not forwarded to them which senior nurse practitioner Paul Deigan said may have changed their approach.
Coroner James Healy-Pratt said both times the mental health teams were contacted were chances missed to help Ms Brampton but he do not know if those opportunities would have changed Sally’s outcome which is ‘an important factor’.
The coroner concluded Ms Brampton took her own life ‘while the balance of her mind was disturbed’.
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