Mental Health Awareness Week

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Article

14 May, 2021

You arrive at depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation when you can't escape an issue in your head, be the pain of fibromyalgia, or a trauma, or any other pressing issue. Mental Health Awareness Week presents an opportunity to look at how society and health services manage these issues.

The sad case of Caroline Flack demonstrates the new pressures from social media that escalate and add to problems associated with money worries, job insecurity and low self-esteem. Social media represents a new platform to be judged on.

All too often people suffer in silence, but where there has been a cry for help and the medical authorities are aware of the problem, then it must be managed, because mental health is an illness.

We act in many cases where a hospital or doctor has failed to recognise the risks of suicide and treat it appropriately. There is a need for correct diagnosis and recognition of red flags, proper intervention from qualified practitioners, management of medication, appropriate, timely therapy and crisis management.

The majority of our cases are supported with a serious incident report made by a hospital as part of their duty of candour. This document and investigation is designed to look at opportunities to improve. On occasion, they openly admit failings, and on other occasions, they do not. For the purpose of a clinical negligence claim, you must be able to demonstrate that what they did or did not do caused the suicide.

What is always clear is that that the loss of a loved one, when it should have been prevented leaves the family in a difficult position emotionally and financially.

As solicitors, supported by medical evidence we identify when this should have been preventable. The aim of compensation is to put the family in the same position it would have been in, had the negligence not happened. It will never bring the loved one back, but comparison is drawn to what the deceased contributed to the family by way of loss of services and earnings. There is also a statutory bereavement award and funeral expenses for a qualifying claimant.

Gone is forever, and in some circumstances it is preventable.

Cases we have run have led to formal apologies and acknowledgement of failings and drawn attention to the need for new facilities and closure of antiquated wards.

We continue to highlight the need for greater empathy and resource in the growing area of mental health.

For more information contact Leonie Millard in our Clinical Negligence department via email or phone on 01254 770517. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

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