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Winchester family calls for review of mental health treatment after two brothers die months apart
6:00am Sunday 6th October 2013 in News
A HAMPSHIRE family has urged mental health services to make changes after two brothers killed themselves just months apart, an inquest heard.
Jonny Watson, 28, was found hanged, eight months after elder brother Matthew died in the same circumstances, also aged 28.
Now their grieving mum, pictured above with her family, is calling for better communication between families and mental health services to help spot when patients are in danger of harming themselves.
It comes after an inquest in Winchester heard that Jonny had a history of mental illness since 2002, when he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He had been sectioned twice, including a six-week stay at Melbury Lodge in August 2011.
The inquest heard yesterday his health had been improving but in March 2012 his brother Matthew hanged himself after relationship problems including the abortion of his child.
Then, eight months later, in November last year, Jonny was also found hanged at home in Somers Close, Winchester.
After the hearing his mum Caryn said: “He did not recognise he was ill and we could not cope at home.
“But when we talked to the service we were told they couldn’t do anything because Jonny had to ask for help.”
Mrs Watson said there should be better communication between families and the service and that families should be more involved in getting care for loved ones.
She added: “If it takes the death of my son to bring about a change in the way the services are run then so be it “He was a lovely, lovely boy and we had some beautiful times together.”
And younger brother James said: “The mental health services wouldn’t come to see Jonny but when he died they came round the very next day to talk to me.”
Dr Shehzad Khan, of Connaught House day hospital, said Jonny generally refused to take medication and attend appointments and would not discuss his mental health when he did see health workers.
He said: “All the meetings were characterised by his reluctance to divulge his thought process. He would become irritable if an attempt was made to discuss his symptoms so we tried to establish a rapport with him by focusing on more practical issues like benefits and supported housing.”
Dr Khan added Jonny had been improving at the end of his sectioning at Melbury Lodge and was taking medication at the time so a more serious section was not considered.
Coroner Sarah Whitby recorded a verdict of suicide.
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