‘My brother needed help but nobody listened – then I got a call to say he’d jumped from a motorway bridge’
‘We begged and he begged for him to be sectioned but absolutely nothing happened’
In the lead up to the call she’ll never forget, Marie’s brother had been getting more unwell. He had been suffering with poor mental health for years – but the situation had got dramatically worse.
Despite claims she pleaded with doctors to section him, he was released back into the community, leaving him to battle terrifying episodes of psychosis which made him ‘lose sense of reality.’
Marie, which was not her real name, was desperate. But before she could seek proper intervention, she spotted a post on social media about an incident on the M61 motorway.
She ‘prayed’ her brother was not involved. But, then she received a call from police confirming the awful news. “Please tell me he’s alive,” she said. “He is, but he’s very poorly,” police responded.
Marie, who wished to remain anonymous, claims she “begged and begged” for help before her brother’s suicide attempt – and begged for him to be sectioned. He’d made several comments about wanting to take his own life in the weeks before, she said.
This included three trips to A&E in just 10 days, and interactions with the home based treatment team of Greater Manchester Mental Health (GMMH) who she claims didn’t take her concerns “seriously”.
A spokesperson for (GMMH) said they were ‘sorry’ for the experience and treatment that Marie’s brother raised and that they are aware of her complaint and are ‘working hard to understand what happened, and what can be learnt.’
Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, Marie said: “We thought it was going to be an inquest.”
After falling from the motorway bridge, he was left with severe injuries including a broken spine, broken pelvis, and more, which he remains in hospital for. Marie says his mental health is still in a poor state despite now – receiving hospital treatment.
“His psychosis had been particularly bad in the six or seven months in the lead up to this,” she said. “His dog had been taken off him around this time as he had said about killing it.”
Marie first took her brother to A&E in Bolton after he had hit himself over the head with a wrench. She claims she asked for her brother to be admitted to hospital due to his mental health as he was talking about harming himself and others.
She claims he was not admitted to the hospital but was told he would be referred to the home based treatment the next day, who can act as a ‘crisis’ team in an emergency. “He didn’t want to go home,” she said.
“He was scared he would do something to himself, he was scared of his flat and TV, he thought there were dead people in his home.”
Just days later he was taken into hospital again after he had attempted to put a bag over his head. All this time Marie said her brother was expressing suicidal thoughts and talking of harming other people. She claims they were sent home from A&E again after her brother allegedly tried to hit a nurse.
Again on Wednesday June 28 he was expressing suicidal thoughts and an ambulance was called by the mental health team due to these concerns. Marie claims they waited more than 10 hours in the A&E waiting room waiting to see the mental health team but again he was not admitted.
“He was telling me I wasn’t there and he couldn’t see anything, it was just blank. I was just crying at what was happening to him, he had completely lost his sense of reality.
“He was told he couldn’t be kept at the hospital and if he could keep himself safe for the night but he was still talking about harming himself and others. We begged and he begged to be sectioned but absolutely nothing happened. He didn’t want to be sent home because he didn’t know what he was going to do to himself. What he was saying has got to be a red flag for them, he had told them what he might do but nothing was done.
“He was sent back in a taxi despite this. He should have been escorted by the police, he was a danger to himself and the public at that point. He needed sectioning. He said to me “I feel like I could hurt somebody else” when sat in the waiting room with him.”
Marie claims her brother was put in the care of GMMH’s home based treatment team.
“I wasn’t being taken seriously, I was completely at the end of my tether, they weren’t doing anything,” she said. “His head was not in the right place that week. He was crying to the home based team as he thought he was going to do something to himself this time. But he didn’t get taken seriously. He just wanted to end this not because he wanted to end his life.”
Marie went to work on the Saturday morning but says she ‘completely broke down’ over the stress of what was happening with her brother. She rang him in the morning to check up on him but did not receive any response, which was ‘unusual’, she said.
When she saw the post on social media about an incident she prayed her brother wasn’t involved, but spoke to her horror after discovering he’d jumped from a bridge.
“The (care team) are supposed to keep him safe but they didn’t and that was the last time I spoke to them, the team haven’t even asked what happened,” she said.
Marie has submitted a complaint with GMMH and the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) as well as receiving support from her local MP.
It comes after the Manchester Evening News has extensively reported on tragic case where families feel Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust (GMMH) have ‘failed’ them.
“They failed him, had they acted when he was taken to A&E and the day before the incident when he asked to be taken in he wouldn’t have been there that day,” Marie added. “Now he’s in hospital with a broken spine, broken pelvis, and he’s still saying he wants to kill himself. He might not be able to walk again.
“We begged and he begged to be sectioned but absolutely nothing happened. He didn’t want to be sent home because he didn’t know what he was going to do to himself. What he was saying has got to be a red flag for them, he had told them what he might do but nothing was done. It’s unacceptable to send someone home from A&E in that situation, he had completely lost his sense of reality.
“He won’t be able to be independent after this. I can’t be with him 24/7, I’m going to be scared for him all the time, as I already have been. I wasn’t sleeping at all in the lead up to what happened, it’s only now he’s in hospital that I can sleep.
“It’s just going to keep happening (to other people) if nothing is done. We thought it was going to end in an inquest.
“My mental health has suffered massively too, it’s just anger at the system which is keeping me going now. I’ve had to go off work for a month. It’s frightening how many lives are lost because of this, it needs to stop.”
A spokesperson for Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are so sorry for the experience of care and treatment that (the woman) has raised. We are aware of her complaint and are working hard to understand what has happened, what can be learned, and how we can best support her brother and his family going forwards. We remain in close contact with (the woman). To respect confidentiality, we are unable to comment further.”
Help and support
Samaritans (116 123) samaritans.org operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at firstname.lastname@example.org , write to Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK, PO Box 9090, STIRLING, FK8 2SA and visit www.samaritans.org/branches to find your nearest branch.
For support for people feeling suicidal, if you are concerned about someone or if you are bereaved by suicide see http://shiningalightonsuicide.org.uk
CALM (0800 58 58 58) thecalmzone.net has a helpline is for men who are down or have hit a wall for any reason, who need to talk or find information and support. They’re open 5pm to midnight, 365 days a year.
Greater Manchester Bereavement Service Greater Manchester Bereavement Service can help to find support for anyone in Greater Manchester that has been bereaved or affected by a death. No one needs to feel alone as they deal with their grief. www.greater-manchester-bereavement-service.org.uk
Childline (0800 1111 ) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.
PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
Beat Eating Disorders: Beat provides helplines for adults and young people offering support and information about eating disorders. These helplines are free to call from all phones. Adult Helpline: 0808 801 0677, Studentline: 0808 801 0811, Youthline: 0808 801 0711. www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk
Anorexia & Bulimia Care: ABC provide on-going care, emotional support and practical guidance for anyone affected by eating disorders, those struggling personally and parents, families and friends. Helpline: 03000 11 12 13. www.anorexiabulimiacare.org.uk/
Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts. Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying studentsagainstdepression.org
For information and links to charities and organisations that can help with substance abuse, visit https://www.supportline.org.uk/problems/drugs/