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Coroner issues warning on NHS mental health services after girl’s suicide

A coroner has said Britain is failing young people and more will die because of under-resourced mental health services, as she ruled that neglect led to the death of a 14-year-old girl.

Penelope Schofield, the senior coroner for West Sussex, said she would write to the health secretary, Sajid Javid, to raise concerns after the case of Robyn Skilton, who killed herself after being let down by “gross failures” in NHS mental health services.

Robyn, from Horsham in West Sussex, disappeared from her family home and took her own life in a park on 7 May last year, her inquest in Chichester heard.

Despite serious concerns about her mental health, Robyn did not get face-to-face consultations, was not seen by a child psychiatrist or assessed for mental health issues, and was discharged from an NHS service a month before her suicide though she was on its high-risk “red list”.

Her father, Alan Skilton, told the inquest he pleaded for help, and he described the lack of care his daughter received as “astonishing”. He said he believed that if Robyn had been seen earlier, her mental health would have improved and she would not have killed herself.

The coroner said: “As a society we are failing young people.” She said she was shocked to hear that the number of young people seeking mental health help had increased by 95%. “Trying to manage it without more resources means we are not providing the help that young people need. Robyn’s case is a testament to that. It’s a clear risk that more lives will be lost if we don’t address it.”

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Source: The Guardian, 29 June 2022


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