AN UNDER-FIRE health trust has admitted it missed chances to intervene when a mentally ill Southampton man was in “crisis”.

Southern Health bosses say there will now be wholesale changes made after the tragic death of student mental health nurse Liam Sullivan.

Winchester Coroner’s Court heard how the 32-year-old, who suffered from bipolar disorder, had told of his suicidal thoughts weeks before he died, yet there was not a crisis plan in place for him.

Failings also included how a previous suicide attempt was not recorded on the health trust’s database.

Mr Sullivan was found hanged in his flat in Winchester Road, Southampton, on April 9.

The inquest heard there was a plan in place for him to be treated with lithium for his bipolar, and how how he took a prescribed drug called olanzapine, which was reduced in the weeks before his death by his GP.

Mr Sullivan’s girlfriend said his mood drop was triggered when he was suspended from his course after an incident at the Southampton University Students’ Union bar.

He had been due to go on a placement with the university before this and it also resulted in his bursary being stopped.

Ms Laura Waldram told the inquest she believed signs of depression were mistakenly diagnosed as side effects of taking olanzapine, leading to the prescribed dose being reduced.

After that she said he started to deny having bipolar disorder, and she was desperate to help him but felt she did not get enough support.

Ms Waldram said: “He was training to be a mental health nurse and he had a good knowledge. He had known that he had bipolar he knew that for years he always had good insight into when he is hyper manic or depressed.”

“It was only after the change in medication he started having these beliefs that he was living a lie.”

Days before his death a community mental health nurse Tom Bell discussed raising his olanzapine level.

Mr Bell told the inquest he was not told about Mr Sullivan’s drug decrease, and although there was a letter which stated of his previous suicide attempt in 2008, the information was not on the Southern Health database.

He said Mr Sullivan spoke of suicidal thoughts but had no suicidal plan.

Head of nursing and quality Carol Adcock said Southern Health NHS Trust carried out an investigation after the death and said changes will be made in the way the trust shares information.

The inquest comes as the trust announced its decision to temporarily shut a specialist mental health unit caring for some of its most vulnerable patients.

As reported by the Daily Echo, a 10-bed Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Antelope House at Royal South Hants hospital is closing for eight months because of chronic staff shortages.

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Southern Health chief executive Katrina Percy has hung onto her post despite fierce criticism from politicians and patients' families

Senior coroner Grahame Short recorded a verdict of suicide.

Mr Short said: “There was a missed opportunity to reconsider his treatment and a missing link with his suicide attempt in 2008.”

"This was because there was no input on the database.

“I have to say that is surprising if not unfortunate, that would have given Mr Bell the opportunity to ask that question that he was pursuing the idea of suicide.”

A statement from Laura Waldram read: “Liam was a loving son and was a committed partner. He was a compassionate student mental health nurse who wanted to make a difference in the lives of all his patients.

Liam’s kindness, generosity and zest for life touched everybody who knew him, and he will be missed by all his friends and family.”

“The loss of Liam has left us bereft and the inquest, along with the verdict of suicide marks the closure of the official process regarding his death.”

Southern Health's clinical director for adult mental health, Mary Kloer, said: “I would like to extend our condolences to Liam’s family at this difficult time. We had been supporting Liam for a number of months and the news of his death saddened us all.

“After learning of Liam’s death, we began an investigation to review the support we had offered and to see if there was anything we could have done differently.

“The investigation revealed a number of issues in Liam’s care which we are working hard to improve.

“This includes improving our communication with families and primary care colleagues, ensuring we provide all the care documents needed and improve how we share information. In addition, we are improving our processes and guidance for Practitoner Led Clinics."