Melanie Hogben fell to her death from Arndale car park after battling mental health issues, inquest hears

Melanie, who leaves behind a son and a daughter, had been struggling with mental health issues for several years.

She was sectioned under the Mental Health Act just months before her death after battling Schizoaffective disorder.

An inquest into her death at Manchester Coroners’ Court heard she was discharged from a mental health unit in June 2018.

She had regular visits from a care coordinator until the beginning of August, but wasn’t then seen or contacted by any mental health professionals until October 18.

Melanie took her life just over two weeks later.

Melanie was admitted to the Moorside Unit at Trafford General Hospital, which is run by the Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, on March 9, 2018.

During her admission, a consultant psychiatrist changed her medication to a depot injection for two weeks to ‘improve her symptoms’, the inquest heard.

Her partner Tony said they were ‘concerned’ by the injection because of the side effects she suffered.

By the time Melanie was discharged on June 13, her condition had improved and she was put back on her previous anti-psychotic medication.

She was seen by a psychiatrist on July 12, who recorded that Melanie’s condition was stable.

Melanie was then seen regularly by her care coordinator until August 3.

That care coordinator went off sick before leaving her position, the inquest heard.

But despite being classed as ‘high-priority’ after being sectioned, Melanie wasn’t given a new care coordinator until August 22.

Her new coordinator Wilma Martin-Lawrence told the inquest she was on a two-week holiday at the time Melanie was added to her case load of 28 service users.

The inquest also heard how she was unable to work in her capacity as care coordinator on 21 out of 43 days at that time due to other professional commitments.

Ms Martin-Lawrence was unable to make contact with Melanie until the beginning of October after she had contacted mental health services to ask who her care coordinator was.

She met Melanie during an appointment with psychiatrist Dr William Davis on October 18.

At this appointment, Melanie said she wasn’t feeling paranoid, had no problems with her medication and was not having suicidal thoughts.

Her care coordinator arranged a home visit with her on November 9, but she sadly died before this could take place.

Melanie’s partner Tony told the inquest she ‘gave off the impression that she was doing well’ after being discharged from hospital.

“Melanie did not like being in hospital so obviously the two or three times that they came after she was discharged she would have said that she was doing well because she did not want to go back there,” he said.

A serious incident review was carried out by the Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust.

It showed that there were ‘significant staffing issues’ at the time of Melanie’s death.

Daniel Cottam, operational manager for mental health services in central Manchester, told the inquest the team ‘was under significant pressure at the time’.

Full story here

Source: Manchester Evening News, 3rd February 2021

Published by CHARM Greater Manchester

CHARM, the Community for Holistic, Accessible, Rights Based Mental Health was launched by The Organic Recovery Learning Community in September 2020.

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