A heartbroken daughter has claimed Carseview “failed” her mother, who took her own life just two weeks after being discharged from the facility.
Stephanie Mitchell, 22, wants answers from health bosses and clarity over who is responsible for the care her mum, Agnes Carrie, received while at the mental health facility.
Agnes died at the age of 46 on November 9 2020, just days after being discharged from Carseview.
She had been in and out of the facility for two years, with Stephanie claiming her mum was not given the support required.
“My mum was constantly in and out of Carseview from when I was a wee girl because she had multiple mental health problems – bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, PTSD and severe depression,” Stephanie said.
“She regularly tried to take her own life and for the last two years she was in Carseview every couple of months begging them for help.
“Before she passed she said to me if anything happened, Carseview needs to be held to account.
“No 46-year-old woman acts like that for attention, she was suffering really badly and they didn’t take her seriously.”
Family felt like they were ‘back to square one’ every time she left Carseview
Agnes would often confide in her daughter, phoning when she was suffering from suicidal thoughts.
If they were concerned for her welfare, the family would then contact the police, who would attend Agnes’s home in Lochee before taking her to Carseview.
But she would normally be discharged within days of arriving and having been given medication.
Stephanie claims her mum was sedated to the point she “felt fine” but that, once she left Carseview and was no longer on the medication, it felt like the family were “back to square one”.
Stephanie added: “She would be admitted under the Mental Health Act and be sedated to the point she would act fine, but if you are given a psychotic to stop these thoughts you will act fine because the brain is not getting those signals.
“She would then be released and come off the medication and we would be back where we started.
“Mum was discharged a couple of weeks before she died in October last year.
“In the week she took her own life, she phoned Carseview and said she needed to go into hospital, but they didn’t admit her.
“The night she died I was on the phone to her at 9pm and she seemed fine – but she had messaged me at 12.15am while I was asleep.
“When I woke up in the morning I tried to get a hold of her. When I couldn’t I called the police and it turned out she had taken an overdose and died.”
In the months since Agnes’s death, Stephanie has been trying to find out why she was discharged from the hospital and how this was allowed to happen.
Uphill battle for Stephanie to get answers
Stephanie added: “I was so angry when I found out, I phoned Carseview and asked why she had been released.
“One guy, who took his own life shortly after my mum, messaged me before he died on Facebook to say he saw my mum on her knees begging to be kept in and they didn’t.
“I think Carseview massively failed my mum, they let her down.
“I was hurt and upset because I begged them to help her.
“We even talked to Carseview about getting her into a residential home where she could be monitored all the time.
“I have called countless times asking for the information on her discharge notes but I keep being passed from pillar to post.
“We did our best and did everything we could, but she needed psychiatry and someone who could help her more than us.
“Mum was appalled and vocally told her friends and family how Carseview had failed her and she felt like everyone had let her down.
“I never thought I would have to bury my mum at age 22.
“Other suicidal people in Dundee are being told to speak out but when they do they need to be taken seriously and Carseview needs to start sectioning people for longer amounts of time.
“I have never suffered with my mental health but if you are suffering from that and are only kept in for a week and then discharged, those thoughts don’t go away in a week.”
‘She was begging for help’
Savannah Jones, Agnes’s niece, added: “She was begging Carseview for help because she didn’t want to kill herself, she just wanted to feel better.
“Carseview is meant to be a place of help and safety but they showed none of that support to Agnes.
“They could have done a lot more for her and done a lot differently.
“Hopefully they can start doing better for other people in the future because it is not nice for this to happen to anyone.”
Agnes’s death came just nine months after the Strang Report was published, which made 51 recommendations to overhaul mental health services in Tayside.
The independent inquiry, which was published in February last year, found failings at all levels.
It came after concerns were raised about mental health services in Tayside at the Scottish Parliament in May 2018.
Some of the recommendations included a whole system review of mental health provision and a redesign of services.
It also recommended prioritising the operation of community mental health services, focusing on prevention and early intervention, and making sure the information provided to patients, families and carers on admission to wards was clear.
Stephanie said: “I know there is an uproar at Carseview regarding the number of people committing suicide previously, but I never thought it would happen to my mum.
“I thought they would help her.
“Things should be changed and I don’t think anything has been done about it since the Strang Report.”
A spokeswoman for NHS Tayside said: “Our thoughts remain with Ms Carrie’s family.
“Due to patient confidentiality, we are unable to comment on matters relating to individual patients.
“We have been trying to contact the family without success and would ask them to please get in contact with us as soon as possible.”
Link to Evening Telegraph article here