Pennine Mental Health Trust failed young musician due to gap in provision

Self-taught drummer James Theophine was reported to the police in April 2019 and his mum Melanie Theophine said that the allegations ‘rocked his world’.

James became dependent on alcohol and died from multi-organ failure in October 2020, aged 20.

The court heard that James slipped through a gap in mental health services in the run up to his tragic medical episode.

James, from Heywood, suffered a series of mental health issues throughout his life and relied heavily on his mum.

In 2007, he was diagnosed with ADHD and four years later, he was diagnosed with autism.

He had a severe form of eczema which was prone to infections, lived with OCD from a young age and struggled with bulimia later in his life.

Mrs Theophine said her son’s mental health suffered a blow in April 2018 when police investigated an allegation involving him – and while this was dropped, James had found the police’s handling of the case traumatic.

The court also heard that James slipped through a gap in mental health services in the run up to his tragic medical episode. 

The court heard that after his 19th birthday, James had struggled to access mental health services after getting too old for the children’s mental health team.

He was considered ‘too complex’ for the adults’ community mental health team and was referred to an organisation called Lanc UK, which was commissioned to run some mental health services.

But Mrs Theophine felt this would not help her son, and in January 2020 she spoke to Pennine Trust enhanced access nurse Gillian Fletcher, along with James.

Ms Fletcher told court that she referred James to Pennine Trust’s ‘open door’ team and arranged for a psychiatrist to see him.

By July, James’ case was discharged by the trust, as he had again been referred to Lanc UK.

Lanc UK director Dr Neil Rutherford told court that his organisation had already considered that James was too complex for the organisation to help him one month earlier – an issue his mum had previously highlighted.

Ms Fletcher said Pennine Trust had not been made aware of that, and would have found an alternative solution for James had it known.

Asked whether she believed there had been a gap in provision for James, Ms Fletcher said: “Yes.”

She added: “I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on James’ case. I did meet him twice. James did speak to me on his own for quite a good period of time.

“He was a very lovely person and a very gentle young man. On reflection I wish that we had also referred him to alcohol services. He was using alcohol and admitted to self-medication.”

A report into the care received by James was read to the court by Cheryl Henry – the community services manager at Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Community Mental Health Team.

The report also concluded that there was a gap in James’ care.

See full article here

Source: Manchester Evening News, 24th July 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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