New Research: Traumatic brain injuries [or antidepressants?] linked to higher military suicide rates

Military

Traumatic Brain Injuries Linked to Higher Military Suicides

Or … Is It Really Antidepressants Prescribed to Those With Traumatic Brain Injuries Which Produces Higher Rates of Suicide?

According to research at the University of Utah, traumatic brain injuries put troops at a higher risk of suicide.

They also found that those with more than one head injury are at a higher risk.

“After sustaining an injury we see increased rates of insomnia,” said National Center for Veterans Studies Associate Director Craig Bryan. “We see increased rates of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder. All of these are risk factors for suicide, as well.”

Yet antidepressants cause insomnia, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder as side effects which are risk factors for suicide. So if the individual has been prescribed an antidepressant are these risk factors for suicide coming from the head injury or the antidepressant? This must be taken into consideration.

My comment I posted to this article is: “I have posted several articles on the subject of military suicides just today and I can tell you that in this study unless they also documented the antidepressants involved in each case their head injury research will be flawed. The reason for that is because traumatic head injury produces a kindling effect when antidepressants are introduced which then causes the individual to have an increase in adverse reactions to the drugs.

“Wellbutrin is the only antidepressant I am aware of that currently has strong warnings against use for those with head injury. The others should have added similar warnings long ago.

“Another consideration is the FDA warning for these young military personnel who fall into the under 25 age group where the FDA has warned that antidepressants increase suicidality for them almost doubling the rate.”

Interestingly if you watch the video portion of this report you will find something not in the written report which is the odd figure no one seems to be able to figure out yet which is that 85% of those military suicides were by troops who had never seen battle!

How long can they dance around the issue of the medications? They are clearly the most common thread. But who is prescribing the medications? They are. So do you think they may be doing fast dancing around this issue to avoid being held liable for these deaths?

WARNING: In sharing this information about adverse reactions to antidepressants I always recommend that you also give reference to my CD on safe withdrawal, Help! I Can’t Get Off My Antidepressant!, so that we do not have more people dropping off these drugs too quickly – a move which I have warned from the beginning can be even more dangerous than staying on the drugs!

The FDA also now warns that any abrupt change in dose of an antidepressant can produce suicide, hostility or psychosis. And these reactions can either come on very rapidly or even be delayed for months depending upon the adverse effects upon sleep patterns when the withdrawal is rapid! You can find the CD on safe and effective withdrawal helps here: http://store.drugawareness.org/

Ann Blake Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition for Drug Awareness
www.drugawareness.org & http://ssristories.drugawareness.org
Author: ”Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? – Our Serotonin Nightmare – The Complete Truth of the Full Impact of Antidepressants Upon Us & Our World” & Withdrawal CD “Help! I Can’t Get Off My Antidepressant!”

Original article: http://www.ksl.com/index.php?nid=148&sid=26805911

Ann Blake Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition for Drug Awareness
www.drugawareness.org & http://ssristories.drugawareness.org
Author: “Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? – Our Serotonin Nightmare – The Complete Truth of the Full Impact of Antidepressants Upon Us & Our World” & Withdrawal CD “Help! I Can’t Get Off My Antidepressant!”

2,473 total views, no views today

Medical examiner confirms death of 9-yr-old Colony, TX boy was

NOTE FROM Ann Blake-Tracy (www.drugawareness.org):

This suicide is much too similar to little Gabriel Myers’ (7) suicide
in Florida last year – while in the custody of CPS! He too was on
similar medications when he impulsively hung himself with a shower
hose in the bathroom.

Both types of medications have an FDA black box warning for suicide
for this age group. WHY?!!! Want to talk about him being exposed to
something toxic? This is it! Why as a society do we allow this to
continue?!!! Why is it okay for doctors to give patients drugs that
could cause suicide?

Here is the warning given for Strattera which is prescribed for ADHD.
[And a similar warning was given to all antidepressant and mood
stablizing medications (which Montana was also taking).]

9/05 From Web MD: “The FDA is advising health care providers and
caregivers that children and adolescents being treated with Strattera
should be closely monitored for worsening of symptoms as well as
agitation, irritability, SUICIDAL THINKING OR BEHAVIORS, and unusual
changes in behavior, especially during the initial few months of
therapy or when the dose is changed (either increased or decreased).”

“THIS MONITORING SHOULD INCLUDE DAILY OBSERVATION BY FAMILIES AND
CAREGIVERS AND FREQUENT CONTACT WITH THE PHYSICIAN, says the FDA.”
[Emphasis added]

What kind of close monitoring is this when he hangs himself in a
nurses office?! Why did none of the professionals working with Montana
withdraw him from the medications which had been producing these
suicidal thoughts for some time BEFORE he lost his life? I see these
FAR TOO OFTEN and the children are getting younger and younger as
those who should be caring for them ignore these strong FDA warnings
that are the next closest thing there is to banning a group of drugs!

Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition for Drug Awareness

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/021710dnmetlancesuicide.12e83ee14.html?so=TimeStampAscending&ocp=5#slcgm_comments_anchor

Medical examiner confirms death of 9-year-old Colony boy was suicide

11:13 PM CST on Thursday, February 18, 2010

By WENDY HUNDLEY/The Dallas Morning News
whundley@dallasnews.com

The Tarrant County medical examiner’s office ruled Thursday that a
9-year-old boy from The Colony committed suicide.

Montana Lance

The determination rules out speculation that Montana Lance’s death was
an accident.

Montana was found hanging in a bathroom at Stewart’s Creek Elementary
School around 1 p.m. Jan. 21. He was taken to Baylor Medical Center at
Carrollton, where he was pronounced dead.

Lt. Darren Brockway of The Colony police said the medical examiner’s
ruling is consistent with police conclusions about the death.

“He’d gotten in trouble at school and panicked,” Brockway said. “He
just felt there was no other way out.”

There had been speculation that Montana watched a television show
about teen suicide the night before his death and was copying what he
saw with no real intention to kill himself.

“We ruled that out as an option after talking to his parents,”
Brockway said. “He didn’t watch that show.”

Also Online

01/25/10: Friends, family stunned by apparent suicide of 9-year-old boy

Link: Leave your condolences for the family of Montana Lance

Still, experts say children as young as Montana may not fully
comprehend the consequences of their actions. A suicidal act may be a
spur-of-the-moment act, like an outburst or a tantrum, they say.

“It was more of a conscious decision he made in a moment of high
anxiety,” Brockway said.

A spokesman for the Lance family could not be reached for comment
Thursday. A police report says Montana’s father had insisted the death
was accidental.

Brockway said Montana had been upset on the day of his death after he
was sent to the office for misbehaving in class. He locked himself in
the school nurse’s restroom and didn’t come out.

After about 10 minutes, the nurse got a key to open the door and found
the child unconscious.

Montana had attached the buckle of a brown cloth belt to a hook of a
device used to help disabled people use the restroom, according to a
police report. He was found with the belt around his neck with his
feet off the floor. Police found no notes or messages.

He had been taking medication for mood swings and for attention
deficit hyperactivity disorder, and had been having suicidal thoughts
for about two years, the police report states.

In 2007, Montana’s parents, Jason and Debbie Lance, sought treatment
for their son for ADHD.

In 2008, they told the doctor that the boy had been talking about
committing suicide, and he was referred to a psychiatrist, according
to the police report.

After Montana’s death, Child Protective Services opened an
investigation to determine whether abuse or neglect were contributing
factors.

That investigation has not been completed, but the family’s other two
children have not been removed from the home, CPS spokeswoman Marissa
Gonzales said.

Gonzales said CPS has had no prior involvement with the Lances and
routinely investigates child fatalities.

With the medical examiner’s ruling, police plan to close their
investigation with no charges filed, Brockway said.

1,370 total views, no views today

Juvenile Murders & Push for Use of Antidepressants in that Age Group Coincide

NOTE FROM Ann Blake-Tracy (www.drugawareness.org): Note that the spiked increase in murders by juveniles came at the same time of the push for the use of antidepressants in juveniles. The push for use in juveniles came after a 1992 Oprah show where juveniles on these drugs were featured. The jump in use of SSRIs by juveniles from that time skyrocketed.

After murders committed by juveniles spiked in the early 1990s, states toughened laws, making the United States the harshest nation in world in the legal punishment of children, according to a recent study.

http://www.kansascity.com/105/v-print/story/1443770.html

Posted on Sun, Sep. 13, 2009

When children kill, punishment varies
By JOE LAMBE
The Kansas City Star
A Kansas City, Kan., girl charged with murder at age 13 faces adult court and many years in prison.

A boy who was 13 when he killed a man last year will stay in the juvenile system and could be released when he is 22½, a Wyandotte County judge ruled early this month.

Both cases illustrate how children who commit heinous crimes are testing the boundaries of the justice system.

After murders committed by juveniles spiked in the early 1990s, states toughened laws, making the United States the harshest nation in world in the legal punishment of children, according to a recent study. However, the number of children who killed declined in the late ’90s and has largely held steady this decade, leading some to question the practice of tougher sentencing.

“Some states are starting to recognize that kids can be treated as kids,” said Michele Deitch, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin and lead author of a study, “From Time Out to Hard Time.”

In 22 states, children as young as 7 still can be tried as adults. There is no age limit in Missouri, but it is 10 in Kansas. As of June, juveniles could not be sentenced to life without parole in seven states, including Kansas. That makes the United States the only nation in the world where juveniles can be sentenced to life without parole, the study reported.

All children who offend at age 12 or younger should be put into juvenile care, the Texas study contends. And it found that when they are put in adult prisons, juvenile offenders are five times more likely to be sexually assaulted and 36 times more likely to commit suicide.

Laurence Steinberg, author of “Rethinking Juvenile Justice” and a professor at Temple University in Philadelphia, believes that a 13-year-old is too young to be charged as an adult.

“You’re exposing kids to adult sanctions for something they did as a kid,” he said, “but no prosecutor is going to be able to run on the platform of ‘I gave somebody a break.’ ”

Weighing the facts

In the Wyandotte County cases, the similar situations are seemingly headed toward different outcomes.

Early this month, defense attorney Kiann McBratney successfully argued that Antwuan Taylor, the Kansas City, Kan., boy who killed last year at age 13, should not be tried as an adult and instead should stay in the juvenile system.

But McBratney, other prosecutors and some defense attorneys do support adult sentences for some children, saying society needs protection from them.

“There are kids out there who function like adults and can kill people in cold blood,” she said.

Robbin Wasson, the prosecutor in the Taylor case, said, “We don’t want to be prosecuting 13-year-olds willy-nilly as adults,” noting that decisions on juvenile offenders are made on a case-by-case basis.

The other juvenile charged in Wyandotte County last year with killing at age 13 was Keaira Brown, who this year became the youngest person ever sent to adult court there.

She allegedly shot 16-year-old Scott Sappington to death after an apparent botched carjacking attempt.

The victim’s grandmother, Joyce Sappington, said she had mixed emotions about the ruling, but children killing children “has got to stop. If nobody sends a message, it will never stop.”

Nationwide from 1985 to 2004, the study reports, judges transferred 961 children age 13 or younger to adult courts. That does not count children from states that have automatic transfer laws for crimes such as murder or states that allow prosecutors to directly file cases in adult court.

“You can have a teen who kills and goes automatically into the adult system and life without parole,” Deitch said. “That’s incomprehensible to me.”

Science and sentencing

Researchers have discovered that the section of the brain related to impulse control does not fully develop until the mid-20s, but that finding doesn’t necessarily help in the legal debate.

Some say it means children grow and change — what they are is not what they will become. Others say it means they are out of control and deadly.

The Supreme Court mentioned those brain studies in a 2005 Missouri case when it ruled that those younger than 18 when they killed could not be executed. That ruling took 72 people off death rows.

The ruling said children change, are less mature than adults, are more influenced by peers and are less to blame.

“Even a heinous crime committed by a juvenile,” the court said, “is not evidence of irretrievably depraved character.”

In the Taylor case in Wyandotte County, the boy was influenced by a 21-year-old woman who gave him a gun and suggested he kill someone. She drove him and picked out a victim, and Taylor shot Charles McElroy six times.

Barry Feld, a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School, said of the Taylor case and the woman’s influence: “It is the absolute paradigm of what the Supreme Court was talking about.”

Thirteen is too young for adult prosecution, he said, but for older children, he has raised questions about whether juvenile court is appropriate.

A “youth discount” is a sentencing method that Feld advocates. “A 14-year-old gets 25 percent of the going rate for the same crime by an adult, a 16-year-old gets about 50 percent,” he said.

Deitch praised another approach sometimes used by Kansas, Missouri and 25 other states. The laws generally allow a judge to combine a juvenile sentence with a further adult sentence if the offender fails in the juvenile system.

Wyandotte County District Judge Wes Griffin imposed the Kansas version of that approach in the Taylor case. Kansas officials say it has been rarely used — only in seven cases of 348 juveniles sent to the state juvenile system last year.

Missouri also rarely uses its version but has had good success, officials said. From 1999 to 2006, they said, 36 people were released after serving their juvenile time. Only six committed other crimes.

Atharene McElroy, mother of the victim in the Taylor case, is satisfied that her son’s killer is staying in juvenile court.

“He’s just a young, troubled boy,” she said, but he is dangerous and needs to be off the streets while he matures.

To reach Joe Lambe, call 816-234-7714 or send e-mail to jlambe@kcstar.com.

1,332 total views, no views today

ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Four Soldiers From the 1451st Transport Co. Kill Themselves

NOTE FROM Ann Blake-Tracy (www.drugawareness.org): How many soldiers do we need to lose to suicide before we wake up to the fact that the FDA has warned about increased suicide in those in this age group who take antidepressants??!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Paragraph 38 reads: “Even if a veteran seeks out that help, it might not be enough. It wasn’t in Blaylock’s case — or, for that matter, in any of the cases of the four members of the 1451st who came home and committed suicide. Each of the four made at least some effort to get help from the VA, and each was prescribed an antidepressant.”

http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090902/NEWS/909020387

Day 4: ‘Where’s the line between people’s rights and enforcing help?’

Military, VA confront host of thorny issues in trying to prevent veterans’ suicides

By Konrad Marshall

Posted: September 2, 2009Read Comments(6)RecommendE-mail Print ShareA A If there is something that might help returning soldiers better adjust to civilian life — something that might help tame the inner demons of war — it is mandatory, intensive and long-term counseling.

It wasn’t required when Sgt. Jacob Blaylock and three other soldiers in the 1451st Transportation Company returned home nearly 2 1/2 years ago and later ended their own lives. Although some are receiving more counseling now, that follow-up work still is not required and, for various reasons, might never be.

There are numerous obstacles, but these are foremost: It’s difficult to determine how likely someone is to commit suicide — an issue made more difficult because soldiers often don’t seek help or acknowledge and discuss problems. Also, requiring extensive screenings and follow-ups could infringe on the rights of veterans who are now civilians.

The military and the Department of Veterans Affairs are left to perform something akin to mental health triage — a focus on the most obvious and severe cases. For the rest, it’s a quick assessment and an along-you-go, hope-for-the-best.

That works fine for many. But the VA and military have no effective way to monitor and counsel those whose anguish is more subtle — or purposely masked — whose depression deepens over time amid the nightmares of war and troubles at work or at home.

The military puts most of its effort into its demobilization process, required of all returning soldiers. The process is designed to prepare soldiers for a return to civilian life and to assess their physical and mental health.

When Blaylock and his comrades in the 1451st demobilized at Camp Atterbury, it was a three- to five-day process. Today, it’s a five- to seven-day process in which soldiers undergo mandatory reintegration briefings and one-on-one sessions with mental health counselors.

But it is also during demobilization that two competing interests emerge. Mental health workers want to make sure soldiers are OK. Soldiers want to go home.

“They ask you, ‘Do you have any issues?’ You say, ‘No,’ because a soldier wants to get home,” said Staff Sgt. Robert Mullis, an active-duty commander with the 1451st in Boone, N.C. “All these things they ask you about, the answer is ‘No,’ because you want to get home. Then you get home and you have medical issues or employment issues, or you figure out maybe you should have had counseling.”

Lt. Col. Timothy Holtke, director of Personnel and Civilian Affairs at Camp Atterbury, said the Army understands that and is getting better about probing each soldier’s mind-set.

“We want to dig a little deeper than ‘Hey, soldier, how are you doing?’ ” Holtke said. “If they’re having an issue, we want to pull it out of them.”

That said, Holtke and others acknowledged that soldiers will try to placate clinicians in order to finish faster.

“We know soldiers do that,” said Dr. Marsha Rockey, the only psychologist with the Department of Behavioral Health at Camp Atterbury, where more than 7,000 soldiers are processed each year. “Do we catch 100 percent of them? I’m sure we don’t. But we tell them: ‘Our goal is not to keep you; it’s to keep you safe.’ ”

Staff Sgt. Brian Laguardia is a national advocate for returning veterans and one of five former soldiers who did a national public service announcement with Tom Hanks for the group Welcome Back Vets. He also was a member of the 1451st and a friend of Blaylock’s.

Recalling the 1451st’s demobilization at Camp Atterbury, Laguardia said, “They did as little as they could to hold us back, to keep us from going home. Really quickly, they had us out of there. There’s a real need to make the transfer slower, more than a couple of weeks even.”

But there is a practical concern: Bringing troops home earlier to give them more time to demobilize would require calling up other troops more quickly.

Holtke said that already is a problem.

“Nobody anticipated that these contingency operations would go on as long as they have,” he said. “You have reserve soldiers going on third and fourth tours, which was just inconceivable 20 years ago.”

Mullis said another issue is the timing of demobilization. He advocates going home for two weeks, then being required to report to the demobilization site, “so you know what issues you’re facing.”

Dr. Cheryl Sweeney, who works every day with veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, understands this all too clearly.

“We live in a society that wants to be about peace and friendliness and understanding, and combat veterans — especially fresh combat veterans — are about protection and defensiveness and sometimes a lot of anger and hostility,” she said. “It’s hard to mesh those two realities.”

Rick Blaylock, Jacob’s father, and many others said they think there should be mandatory check-ins and behavioral screenings long after deployment, whether quarterly or every six months, to detect and treat symptoms that appear over time.

As it is, once they leave the military, the onus is on individual veterans to seek help.

And that’s not always the way of a soldier.

“When you come back from overseas,” Mullis said, “you’re a different creature than when you left. Things change in a year. It’s hard. Life’s hard. People see stuff. They experience stuff that changes them. There’s personal guilt.

“I think some don’t seek the help they need soon enough. Pride gets in the way. All your military life you’re told you’re strong enough.”

At Camp Atterbury, there are signs that try to cut through that culture: “Never Leave a Fallen Comrade: Buddies Can Prevent Suicide” and “Not All Wounds Are Visible.”

Laguardia supports the VA but thinks the Army should make it mandatory for soldiers to register there.

“Check in on them. That’s why you’re in charge,” he said. “Just like when you’re a sergeant and you come off mission and you say, ‘I know you’re exhausted right now, but you have to clean your weapons.’ I think there’s such a stigma on going to a mental health screening that they have to make it mandatory.”

But can they?

“In some ways, we do wish that we were able to do that,” said Jan Kemp, the national suicide prevention coordinator for the Department of Veterans Affairs. “In other ways, veterans have truly left the military, and their control over their own lives is important. I think we walk a fine line there.”

Sweeney, who is the Seamless Transition psychiatrist with the Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Indianapolis, agrees.

“So where’s the line between people’s rights and enforcing help?” she said. “I wish there were no pain in the world. But philosophically — not to mention practically — you’re kind of stuck.”

Kemp noted that a number of systems are in place to help veterans through their problems, including the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which has taken more than 150,000 calls in two years; the suicide prevention coordinators put in place at all VA offices; and the Seamless Transition staff designed to deal with veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Army has its own programs, such as the Yellow Ribbon campaign and Military OneSource — tools for checking up on soldiers and dealing with the issues they face. But all the programs are voluntary.

“That’s probably my biggest concern,” Rockey said. “I wish there was some system set up, because they don’t know what issues they’ll have in 30 days, 60 days, 90 days or 180 days.

“We try to tell them where to go, what their resources are, but when they’re coming through here (during demobilization), you see it — ‘La la la.’ ‘What do I have to do?’ ‘What’s my next checked box?’ — so how much they retain is a big question mark.”

Even if a veteran seeks out that help, it might not be enough. It wasn’t in Blaylock’s case — or, for that matter, in any of the cases of the four members of the 1451st who came home and committed suicide. Each of the four made at least some effort to get help from the VA, and each was prescribed an antidepressant.

Blaylock’s medical records indicate he was suffering post-traumatic stress disorder and possible traumatic brain injury, and that he was talking and thinking about suicide. His father thinks that should have been enough to “keep him off the streets.”

Sweeney acknowledged that circumstances often suggest a suicide could have been prevented somehow.

“But how?” she asked. “The bottom line is that a veteran can only be forced into 72-hour supervised care if they are imminently suicidal. Not like, ‘Some day we think this could turn bad.’ More like, ‘Today. If we let you go home we’re afraid you’ll kill yourself today.’ ”

Although it may be difficult to know just when a soldier such as Blaylock becomes imminently suicidal, it was clear in his case that he had issues.

The psychologists at the VA knew. His friends, fiancee and members of his family knew. His fellow soldiers knew. He knew.

And it appears the Army knew, almost from the beginning of his service.

Blaylock entered the Army at age 17 and was discharged two years later after suffering from depression and being diagnosed with a personality disorder that was not discussed further in his medical records.

He was recalled for active duty four years later. But during training, more than one fellow soldier told Army mental health staff they had concerns about Blaylock’s state of mind.

Blaylock was deemed fit to serve, however, and by all accounts served his country well.

Ultimately, the more difficult question may be whether Blaylock was fit to return home. The timing of the explosion that killed his two friends — and left him riddled with guilt — couldn’t have been much worse.

In Iraq, he had developed close relationships with people he thought understood what he had been through. He was especially close to those, like himself, who were members of the Individual Ready Reserve — soldiers who were brought back to fulfill military commitments.

Leaving Iraq meant leaving the war, but it also ripped a fragile, sensitive young man from the people he trusted most — his IRR brothers — at a time when he needed them the most.

Sgt. Riley Palmertree, 29, served in the 1451st and was a friend of Blaylock’s. He is building a library of material for a documentary about the suicides. He has heard people ask whether it would have been prudent to keep the unit in Iraq for a month or two after the deaths of Sgts. Brandon Wallace and Joshua Schmit so close to the end of their deployment.

He even answers the question as part of a treatment he wants to submit to magazines:

“We could know the future no more than we could have stayed together forever in Neverland. I know for some it must be hard to understand, how such a hellish place could be likened to that, but it wasn’t the place; it was the IRR. We were the place. I do know that with us, Jackie was safe. Of that I am certain.”

Palmertree likened the situation to “boys at camp.”

“I think Jackie craved that as much as I did, as much as the rest of us did,” Palmertree told The Star. “He loved it, every moment of it, every time we wrestled with him. He was like a little dog nipping at our heels.”

Sweeney said there is no simple solution to the problem — that keeping a unit together for the sake of one at-risk soldier, even for a few weeks, could put other soldiers at risk.

“Who’s to say the best thing for a given soldier might not be to go home?” Sweeney said. “That’s the challenge that command faces.

“You’ve got to keep in mind you’re dealing with millions of people, and automatically that means you’re dealing with thousands of answers. What’s right for one person is going to be the worst possible thing for someone else.”

1,126 total views, no views today

ANTIDEPRESSANTS: 77 Year Old Man Commits Suicide: England

NOTE FROM Ann Blake-Tracy: Another example of just how truly amazing these antidepressants are! In growing up I do not recall ever hearing of someone this age committing suicide, much less a more violent suicide as we see with SSRI antidepressants! Now we not only have suicides and violent ones, but we have horribly violent murder/suicides in this age group! It is all so very sickening!!
Second paragraph reads:  “Bernard Jeenes, 77, was found dead in his kitchen, in Cayman Close, Popley, Basingstoke, on June 7, after taking an overdose of anti-depressants and hanging himself.”

http://www.basingstokegazette.co.uk/news/4558306.Suicidal_man__let_down__by_system/

Suicidal man ‘let down’ by system

12:30pm Friday 21st August 2009

#show Comments (0) Have your say »

A GRIEVING son said his father should have been cared for at a Basingstoke psychiatric hospital to stop him from killing himself.

Bernard Jeenes, 77, was found dead in his kitchen, in Cayman Close, Popley, Basingstoke, on June 7, after taking an overdose of anti-depressants and hanging himself.

His son Mark, who found his body, told an inquest into his death that his father had begged to be admitted to the mental health unit at Parklands Hospital after a suicide attempt the week before he died.

Now he is calling for changes. Mr Jeenes, a 33-year-old decorator from Barbel Avenue, in Riverdene, told the inquest at Alton magistrates court: “I feel like my father has been let down and if he got the help he wanted he would still be here today.”

He said a week before he died, his father was admitted to Basingstoke hospital after taking an overdose of anti-depressants. He then asked to be transferred to neighbouring Parklands psychiatric hospital.

He told the coroner: “That should have got alarm bells ringing, but the doctor just said he would be better off at home. My father said he wanted to kill himself.”

He said his father had emerged “a new man” after a spell at Parklands in 2002.

However, the dead man’s psychiatric nurse, Chris Dale, told the inquest Mr Jeenes had been referred by a GP after he had phoned Parklands directly.

He said: “I saw him several times before his death and he didn’t tell me about wanting to go to Parklands. He mentioned he had some suicidal thoughts but that he had no plan or intent to take his life. He told me he wanted to avoid Parklands, and do things on his own.

“The last time I saw him, he was more positive.”

Recording a verdict of suicide, North East Hampshire coroner, Andrew Bradley, said: “Clearly what Mr Jeenes was sharing with his son was different from what he was sharing with Chris Dale.

“The concerns were there, the bells were ringing but the assessment pushed him out the Basingstoke hospital door.”

After the inquest, a spokesman for Hampshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Parklands Hospital, said staff who knew him had been deeply saddened by the death of Mr Jeenes.

An initial review into the circumstances had concluded that the right clinical decisions were made.

The spokesman added: “A further more detailed review is being carried out. It is important to note that the coroner, in full possession of all the facts, did not make any recommendations for the trust to implement.”

He said if a clinician wanted a patient admitted, a bed would be found.

Mr Jeenes’ story has come to light just weeks after The Gazette reported the inquest of Terry Thomas, aged 54, of Kenilworth Road, Winklebury, who died after jumping from a bridge on Ringway West A340 on April 1.

His widow Jane told an inquest he had been turned away from Parklands Hospital the day before his death, despite a failed suicide attempt.

Following that story, Gazette reader Hailey Newton Roast, aged 35, of Kings Furlong Centre, off Wessex Close, Basingstoke, contacted the newsdesk to speak of her experience.

She said: “I have manic depression and have tried to commit suicide a few times. Each time I was told I didn’t meet the criteria to be admitted to Parklands.

“The mental health services here are terrible and I’ve written several times to complain.”

1,499 total views, no views today