The mother of a transgender woman found dead at her flat in Bristol has told an inquest that her daughter and other people with mental health issues had died because they are unable to access the talking therapy they needed.
A month before she apparently took her own life, Alexandra Greenway, 23, was escorted to a psychiatric hospital for her own safety by police after what they believed was a suicide attempt.
The consultant psychiatrist who spoke to Greenway at the hospital wrote to her GP recommending that she received talking therapy.
Greenway was relieved at the idea that she was finally going to get the treatment she felt she needed, but by the time she died on 11 May last year, no therapy had been arranged.
Her mother, Jacqueline Greenway, told Avon coroner’s court: “The fact is people keep dying, and they die because the treatment doesn’t materialise.”
She called on the area coroner, Peter Harrowing, to make sure that action was taken to “make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else again.”
Greenway, a recruitment consultant, identified as a transgender woman. She had gender-affirming treatment, including a surgical operation in 2017.
She was distressed over issues including a desire for treatment to remove body hair. The court heard that she had previously been upset at not being able to get talking therapy and at the time of her death was down about her job.
The inquest was told that on 10 April 2019 – almost exactly a month before her death – police were called to try to help her when she apparently tried to take her own life after leaving work at lunchtime. She told an officer that she had voices in her head that “never go away”.
Officers tried to call their own mental health triage team, but nobody was on duty. They decided to detain her under section 136 of the Mental Health Act, but there was no bed for her in Bristol, and she had to be taken to a psychiatric hospital in Devizes, Wiltshire.
Dr Toby Sutcliffe, the consultant psychiatrist who examined Greenway in Devizes, said he spoke to her for an hour. She seemed calm and did not mention hearing voices.
He said she told him that she hoped being taken to hospital would mean she would get help she had not received in the past.
Sutcliffe said she told him she wanted to access care and wanted to get better.
She was discharged from hospital the same day and Sutcliffe wrote to her GP recommending that she received cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
The inquest has been told that Greenway suffered heart and respiratory failure. Police treated her death as suspected suicide.
The hearing continues.
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