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'Lessons must be learnt' says mother after death of mentally ill son
“Lessons must be learned.”
That was the demand from a grieving mother to mental health chiefs after her son died falling from a Southampton tower block.
Drama school graduate Jason Kelly plummeted 50ft from his fifth-floor balcony in Holyrood House, Queensway.
His mother Sylvia stormed out five minutes into his Southampton inquest after accusing mental health services of failing him.
Even on the morning of his death Mrs Kelly says she pleaded to have her son sectioned under the Mental Health Act.
And in an emotional outburst she told the coroner: “This country’s mental health services are diabolical.”
The inquest heard how police arrived at the former amateur actor’s flat on August 28 after neighbours heard glass smashing. Residents feared the 43-year-old – a heavy drinker who suffered bipolar disorder, anxiety and OCD – was having a psychotic episode.
Officers found his door smashed and music blaring and Mr Kelly surrounded with broken glass and damaged furniture. He told them he had broken in after locking himself out.
But two hours later passers-by saw furniture raining down from his balcony before he plummeted to the ground.
Witnesses saw him hanging off the railing and kicking out towards the balcony below before falling.
He died at the foot of the block, despite paramedics desperate attempts to save him.
A post-mortem examination revealed he suffered a fractured skull and multiple injuries.
The inquest heard Mr Kelly – who was HIV-positive – had a history of self-harm and outbursts stretching back to when he previously lived in Bournemouth and London.
Alison Vasey, service manager for Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, said a combination of a lack of information from previous medical records and his tendency to miss appointments since moving to the city two years previously made it difficult to assess him.
Treatment She told the inquest: “Had there been more information the treatment given to Jason May have been more comprehensive.”
Coroner Keith Wiseman stressed it was impossible to determine whether he fell deliberately, and foot scuffmarks on the balcony rail below suggested he was trying to descend to the downstairs flat.
Recording an open determination, he said: “I am unsure what his relevant state of mind was.
“If he was experiencing psychosis and was intoxicated there's a possibility that he didn't have the capacity to make the decision to climb onto the balcony.”
Afterwards Mrs Kelly, 74, from Bournemouth, said: “Lessons should be learned but the government cuts are making it worse.