Melanie lost her son to suicide after a 10 month fight for medical help which didn’t come:
I lost my beautiful, warm, intelligent, quirky and creative son Jake 23rd August 2015 to suicide. Jake was 23 years old and he was my only child. Like any 23 year old he had masses of potential and everything to live for. Jake was studying Contemporary Photography, and was passionate about a career in this field. He had amazing friends and girlfriends. He was confident, articulate and much loved and adored by everyone who knew him. Jake’s issues began 10 months before he died. His behaviour changed drastically and to cut a long story short it would seem that Jake more than likely had bi-polar and was self-medicating using benzodiazapines from the internet. Jake was very open and honest with both myself, and medical professionals and he was desperate for help and could not have shouted any louder. Jake was denied a mental health assessment due to his substance misuse and here the situation just became worse and worse. Between us we banged on doors, wrote letters, had meeting, numerous times of crisis in A&E, but he was in a no win situation. I weighed less than 7 stone before Jake died due to the stress of fighting to get him help and to cope with his challenging behaviour.
There was a Serious Incident Report to investigate Jake’s death, and at his Inquest the Coroner saw everything that I saw and more (there was a further investigation after the Inquest into a ‘missing letter’).
The Coroner issued a Regulation 28 to prevent further deaths as Jake (and I) had been let down. What keeps me going? My husband, family, amazing support from just about everyone that I know, Jake’s friends and their parents and more than anything my relationship with Jake and the amazing memories that he left me. In a strange way I feel privileged to have gone on the journey with him (if that makes sense) it is not that different to caring for somebody with a physical illness on end of life care – suicidal thoughts are real. I have also kept myself busy following up the responses to the Regulation 28 – Jake’s case was published on the Chief Coroners Webpage, which broke my heart. If Jake had not been so vocal, open and honest about how he was feeling and what he was doing and if he had not wanted me to attend appointments with him then I would not have known the half of it. There would not have been a Reg. 28 and there would not have been changes (some as a direct result of Jake’s death). I know what these changes are in Greater Manchester West and as much as it is bitter sweet, I am very proud of Jake, and how hard he fought to stay alive, and to get better. I try not to dwell on how Jake died, it has become less important and it does not take me long to remember something that makes me smile. I have uploaded a photograph of Jake, like I said, he was studying and passionate about photography and he took the silhouette portrait of himself in the studio. Grief is exhausting and I have learnt to let go of searching for answers that I am never going to find and to embrace the changes that could help others.