A jury has found that a young woman who tragically took her own life while in a mental health facility experienced “systematic failures in health and social care.” Jessie Eastland-Seares, aged 19 at the time of her death in May 2022, was under the care of Mill View Hospital in Hove. The jury concluded that these failures resulted in dysregulations and frequent self-harm, ultimately leading to her untimely death. East Sussex County Council has accepted the jury’s findings, and the coroner will be issuing a prevention of future death report. The jury determined that Ms. Eastland-Seares’ self-harm led to death by misadventure.
Ms. Eastland-Seares had a complex medical history, including autism, dyspraxia, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, sensory processing disorder, depression and anxiety, and disordered eating. The coroner noted a severe lack of community treatment for individuals with autism. During the inquest, Ms. Eastland, the mother of the deceased, testified that her daughter’s personal care needs were not adequately addressed while she was in assisted living and under the care of mental health and social services. Ms. Eastland recounted instances where her daughter had urine-soaked sheets and incontinence pads left near her food. Furthermore, carers failed to assist with personal care due to a claim of running out of gloves.
Hospital staff discovered Ms. Eastland-Seares with a ligature around her neck. Despite resuscitation efforts, she was pronounced dead at the scene. Ms. Eastland expressed her belief that her daughter’s death could have been prevented. She stated that there was a lack of interest in her daughter’s physical difficulties, and she and her husband were not informed when their daughter disclosed hearing voices and experiencing hallucinations to a school counselor. Ms. Eastland-Seares had been under the care of East Sussex County Council and children and adolescent mental health services since January 2017 and was transferred to adult mental health and social care services when she turned 18 in December 2020.
Ms. Eastland criticized the fragmented nature of the services, highlighting their failure to address the holistic needs of individuals. She also expressed frustration that recommendations from previous reviews were not being implemented. Ms. Eastland emphasized the importance of hearing the voices of both carers and those receiving care and called for genuine efforts to improve the system. The tragic case of Jessie Eastland-Seares serves as a poignant reminder of the urgent need to address the systematic failures in health and social care to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future.