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Concerns raised over mental health support after Harlow woman Georgia Dehany-Perkin’s death

News / Fri 16th Feb 2024 at 12:19pm

A PREVENTION of future deaths report has highlighted a number of areas of concern regarding the mental health support received by an Essex woman prior to her experiencing fatal combined alcohol and drug toxicity report the Local Democracy Reporter.

Family members found 36-year-old Georgia Dehany-Perkins deceased on Latton Common, Harlow, on September 6 2022 having reported her missing to Essex Police earlier that day.

Ms Dehany-Perkins had a known history of self-harm, suicidal ideation, and being found as an at-risk missing person, with multiple inpatient admissions for treatment for her declining mental health which was exacerbated by having previously been misdiagnosed with cancer.

Healthcare professionals had determined that Ms Dehany-Perkins had been suffering from a “mental disorder with features of self-harm that elevated when she consumed alcohol”. Despite this, coroner Sonia Hayes wrote in the report that, although Georgia had made a conscious decision to drink alcohol alongside taking her medication, “it is not possible to determine if Ms Dehany-Perkins intended the outcome to be fatal”.

On August 28, 2022, Georgia had attempted to hang herself in the bathroom of her bedroom on the mental health ward where she had been admitted following a recent overdose of her medication.

The first of Ms Hayes’ concerns listed in her report is that Georgia had been admitted to a room with an accessible bathroom with a faulty safety mechanism. Although staff were able to remove the ligature, there had been no risk assessment regarding the suitability of the room to Ms Dehany-Perkins before she was admitted.

A lack of communication by mental health professionals with Georgia and her family was also listed as a concern when examining the circumstances of her death. Upon being discharged from hospital on September 2 2022, Ms Dehany-Perkins’ personal care plan had not been updated to reflect that she had agreed to mitigations of medication management by her family, nor were the risks of consuming alcohol alongside her prescribed medication discussed.

On September 4, Ms Dehany-Perkins had demanded to be given control of her medication despite her family’s misgivings, which they expressed in a phone call to the Home First Treatment Team from the Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT) with whom Georgia had attended a scheduled appointment on the same day. It was said that Georgia “appeared stable”, and no further action was taken.

On the day of her death, Georgia’s family identified her as a missing person to Essex Police. However, the force downgraded her from a ‘missing person’ to a ‘concern’ without informing her family of this decision, and did not attend her home address.

However, in a statement issued at the time of the inquest into Ms Dehany-Perkins’ death in December 2022, Essex Police said: “As part of our response to this incident, we made a referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct, which was referred back to us for local investigation.

“That investigation found no misconduct by staff and identified learning which has been addressed. Since this sad incident a number of important changes have been made which address the matters raised by the Coroner and seek to ensure our response to similar incidents is to the level the public rightly expect.”

The inquest into Ms Dehany-Perkins’ death determined that her medication and alcohol consumption had interacted to induce fatal cardiac arrhythmia.

In a statement provided to LDRS, CEO of EPUT Paul Scott said: “Our condolences remain with Georgia’s family, friends and loved ones at this difficult time.

“The death of anyone in our care is devastating and we are continually focused on working with our partners to ensure patients receive the best possible care at all times, both on our wards and in the community.

“We will be reviewing the Coroner’s findings in detail and will respond in due course.”

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2 Comments for Concerns raised over mental health support after Harlow woman Georgia Dehany-Perkin’s death:

Resident
2024-02-16 16:39:35

The mental health services are not fit for purpose. People get stuck in a revolving door of "you don't meeting criteria" bouncing between different services, either too complex, not severe enough etc. Short term Therapies designed to address symptoms rather than working with people to make sense of why they're feeling the way they are through proper talking Therapies. CBT is not a talking therapy but it's about all they offer so people just get prescribed increasingly powerful medications designed to sedate and mask emotions. Mental health services need a radical overhaul and funding for specialist services to address things like trauma using current theories not out dated approaches or cheap quick 'fixes' that just drive things deeper. It's terribly sad that people are dying, it's avoidable

John
2024-02-27 11:06:04

Sad that the NHS let her down so drastically. Everybody deserves happiness and peace in life. This is extremely sad.

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