Mind responds to inquest ruling on the death of Beth Matthews
An inquest has found that the mental health blogger Beth Matthews, who took her own life last year, was subject to “inadequate care” while at the Priory hospital Cheadle Royal in Stockport. Beth had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act, and at the time of her death had thousands of online followers who she regularly shared updates with about her journey.
In the two months before Beth’s death, two other young women – Lauren Bridges and Deseree Fitzpatrick - also passed away while on the same ward. The Priory Group said it “fully accepted” the jury’s findings and acknowledged that “far greater attention should have been given to Beth’s care plan”.
Responding to the ruling, Vicki Nash, Associate Director of Policy, Campaigns and Public Affairs, said:
“We were immensely saddened to hear of Beth’s passing, and our thoughts are with her family and loved ones at this exceptionally difficult time. Beth was a very vulnerable young woman who was considered at a high risk of suicide, but she was also described in court as ‘bright’ and ‘vivacious’. For her followers and so many others, Beth’s generosity and willingness in sharing her story was a source of huge inspiration. Beth leaves behind a powerful legacy of encouraging openness around mental health, and her loss will be felt by people around the country.
“When people are sectioned under the Mental Health Act, they should be able to expect safety and dignity, at the very least. Mental health inpatient and crisis care settings are meant to be therapeutic environments, where people with some of the most serious mental health problems can receive appropriate and effective treatment. All too often, we are seeing that the opposite is true.
“Mind has been calling for a statutory public inquiry into systemic failings of inpatient mental health settings since September. In November, the UK government promised to make a final decision in the ‘coming days’, but it remains unclear as to whether we will see any intervention on these hugely upsetting and damaging accounts of abuse and neglect. We owe it to Beth, Lauren, Deseree and the many other people with mental health problems who are being repeatedly let down by the system supposed to care for them, to take urgent, evidence-based action.”