The tragic death of 15-year-old Madeleine Savory, who took their own life while waiting for a mental health bed, has raised concerns about the potential for more fatalities due to delays in accessing urgent mental health care. The coroner’s inquest into Madeleine’s death revealed failures at Ipswich Hospital, Northgate High School, and in the availability of mental health beds. Coroner Darren Stewart plans to write a report highlighting his concerns and calling for better coordination and resources at a national level. Madeleine’s family expressed their heartbreak and devastation, urging that lessons be learned to prevent others from experiencing the same pain.
According to the inquest, Madeleine had self-harmed on February 3, 2022, and was admitted to the hospital. However, they had to wait several days before being placed on a list for a mental health unit bed. Tragically, during this waiting period, they made a suicide attempt and passed away a week later. Mr. Stewart emphasized the vulnerability of mental health patients, particularly children and young people, who often face long waiting lists and delays in accessing appropriate care.
While Mr. Stewart acknowledged the efforts made by Ipswich Hospital, East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, and Northgate High School to address the issues surrounding Madeleine’s death, he highlighted that many of the factors affecting the allocation of urgent mental health beds are controlled at a national level. These factors include resourcing, coordination, and staff availability. He believes that better coordination and resources at a national level could prevent future deaths and potentially have saved Madeleine’s life.
Madeleine’s family expressed their profound grief and hoped that the inquest would lead to important lessons being learned. They emphasized the need to avoid another child and family enduring the same pain and torment they have experienced. The tragic circumstances surrounding Madeleine’s death highlight the urgent need for improved access to mental health care and the importance of timely interventions to prevent further loss of life.
In light of this tragic event, it is crucial to remind those who may be struggling with mental health issues that help is available. The BBC Action Line provides support and resources for individuals in need. It is essential to reach out and seek assistance when facing mental health challenges.