Stoke Newington mother, 66, killed self after being sent home on leave from Homerton mental health unit

Brenda Morris

Brenda Morris - Credit: Archant

The suicide of a mother who had been on leave from a mental health unit in Homerton has sparked changes in psychiatric units across the country.

Larch Lodge in Homerton

Larch Lodge in Homerton - Credit: Archant

Stoke Newington woman Brenda Morris, 66, was admitted to Larch Lodge in Crozier Terrace in June after taking an overdose.

Three weeks later she was granted weekend leave from the unit run by East London NHS Foundation Trust, despite being assessed as being at high to moderate risk of suicide.

She drowned herself on July 20 when her partner Martin Turner was out of the house, an inquest heard. Mr Turner had not been told she was at such severe risk or that leave had been granted on the basis he “keep an eye on her”.

The trust published a “serious incident” report in October that admitted Ms Morris’ final suicide attempt may have been foreseeable.

Poplar Coroner’s Court heard how Ms Morris, a former legal production and copy editor, had a complex medical history of neurological pain with anxiety, which in the last year of life she had found increasingly difficult to manage.

Senior Coroner Mary Hassell decided to submit a “prevention of future death report” (PFD) to the Chief Coroner to be implemented by all UK psychiatric units after matters “giving rise to concern” emerged during the inquest.

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Ms Hassell has recommended doctors should collaborate better with patients’ families and take their feedback into consideration.

Mr Turner said Ms Morris had not been well during weekend leave the week before her death.

The 68-year-old, who attended the inquest with his and Brenda’s 38-year-old daughter, Kathryn, said: “We must hope some good comes of this.

“Families and carers need to be included and kept informed.

“They must be given appropriate advice on how to look after vulnerable relatives when they are discharged or released on leave, and be alert for signs of potentially suicidal mood swings.”

Ms Morris added: “Nothing can ease the pain of losing my beautiful mother in such tragic circumstances, but I believe valuable lessons can be learnt from our experience.

“Above all we all need to learn to talk about suicide.

“I truly believe further tragedies can be averted by bringing the subject into the open and building collaborative relationships between carers, health professionals and patients.”