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Tragic story of a man who fell from a cliff shared by local NHS to improve mental health services

Wednesday, May 29th, 2019 1:57pm

By Eddie Bisknell- Local Democracy Reporter @EddieBisk

The tragic story of a young Derbyshire man plagued by suicidal thoughts, who died after falling from a cliff, has been revealed.

Last year, an extremely troubled young man died after falling from a Derbyshire tor.

Now, the story of the man, who has been renamed Lucas to protect his identity, has been shared by the Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust in a bid to improve its services and in particular,  how it treats men with mental health difficulties.

The trust says that young men need to be encouraged to talk about openly their feelings and to ask for help.

“You are never alone,” the trust says.

A report to be considered at a trust meeting on Thursday (May 30), says Lucas’ parents believe that while seeking care and support for their son, they felt that their “concerns were dismissed” by NHS services and that the police had been “very dismissive”.

The trust confesses that this could be a case in which everyone thought that providing support for Lucas was “everyone else’s business”.

The report says that Lucas was known as a “happy young man” with a “cheeky smile” and lived with his parents and younger sister.

He had a passion for football and played at county level and also for a local team.

Lucas left school with some GCSEs and secured a job with a local engineering firm. He had a real love of cars.

However, early and rapidly last year, events “spiralled out of control” for Lucas.

Some disturbing changes were noticed by his friends. He became a little dishevelled and seemingly distanced himself from family life.

Towards the middle of 2018, he expressed a desire to end his life and carried out two failed attempts, the report explains.

His parents “pleaded” with the police to take him somewhere safe and, if necessary, have Lucas “sectioned” under the Mental Health Act and taken into a specialist hospital which could properly cater for his needs.

However, the trust says that the police responded saying that it wasn’t their job or in their power to do so on this occasion.

The report says that the parents felt that their concerns had been overlooked and they were dealt with in a very dismissive way.

Lucas had also been seen by NHS mental health services, as well as his own GP, and was treated for depression and anxiety.

Throughout these visits, concerns were again expressed by his parents about his suicidal thoughts, but again, their concerns were “dismissed,” says the trust.

The report says that “Sadly, last summer, this young man, fuelled with alcohol and drugs, died after allegedly ‘falling’ from the top of a local tor”.

It said that Lucas had left messages for his family at various locations at home and that dash-cam footage from his car “revealed some awful truths”.

It transpired he had a major drug problem. His parents were completely devastated, says the trust.

NHS chiefs question whether Lucas had used drugs to disguise unhappiness or whether drugs caused the series of turbulent events he had experienced.

They say: “His family and friends and we as health care professionals will never know.

“Quite rightly, his parents are angry and frustrated and they feel like the NHS let him down.”

The family told NHS staff that Lucas had appeared much happier before his death and had been spending quality time with them.

The trust says that this is common when someone has decided to end their life, saying that it is almost like the person in question is making peace with themselves and those they love. Now, the parents are keen for the message to get across to young men that it is “OK not to be OK”, that the trust should raise awareness about the resources that are available, to encourage young men to talk openly about feelings and “most importantly of all that you can ask for help! You are never alone”.

The report concludes: “As a trust, we need to make sure that all our health care professionals are aware of the right pathways for the right help at the right time to ensure that the best possible service is available. Not just for the patients that we serve but our staff and our own families. One size does NOT fit all.”

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 jo@samaritans.org , write to Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK, PO Box 9090, STIRLING, FK8 2SA and visit www.samaritans.org/branches to find your nearest branch.

CALM (0800 58 58 58) thecalmzone.net has a helpline 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.

Depression Alliance is a charity for people with depression. It doesn’t have a helpline, but offers a wide range of useful resources and links to other relevant information depressionalliance.org

The Sanctuary (0300 003 7029 ) helps people who are struggling to cope – experiencing depression, anxiety, panic attacks or in crisis. You can call them between 8pm and 6am every night. There are other depression charities.

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