A HAMPSHIRE health trust has carried out a review of its older persons’ mental health care following the suicide of a Romsey man.

Winchester Coroner’s Court heard how Ralph Proverbs, 88, of Yokesford Hill, had been referred to the Southern Health Trust after being diagnosed with anxiety and depression in July, but was found dead in his home by one of his daughters a month later.

The inquest heard how the anxiety was likely to have been as a result of his insomnia, but he also suffered from arthritis and had lost his wife of around 60 years in January 2016 to cancer.

After being referred to the mental health team, Mr Proverbs, a retired vet, had told the Southern Health community nurse, Shayla Herdman, during her first visit on July 24 that he had suicidal thoughts, but Ms Herdman told the inquest that he had brushed it off as a one-off comment.

On Ms Herdman’s second visit, Mr Proverbs asked that she didn’t mention the suicidal thoughts as one of his daughters was inside the house.

Ms Herdman said: “That should have been a warning really. At the time I thought he was trying to protect [his daughters].”

Less than a week later on August 5, Mr Proverbs was found father hanged in his home.

A review carried out out by Sharon Harwood, the area matron for older persons’ mental health in Southampton, on behalf of Southern Health revealed that although Ms Herdman was right to respect Mr Proverbs wishes at the time, she should have discussed it with the mental health team so a decision could have been taken on whether or not to challenge Mr Proverbs.

Ms Harwood acknowledged that this was a breach of protocol, but added: “He was a private man and the failings were not causative in his death.”

The inquest heard that recommendations had been made following the review. Senior coroner Grahame Short recorded a conclusion of suicide.

Speaking after the inquest Southern Health’s director of operations, Paula Hull said: “Our thoughts and deep condolences are with the family of Mr Proverbs during this difficult time. [We have] made a number of recommendations which are now being carried out. This includes ensuring clinicians make appropriate decisions about sharing confidential information with patients’ families and other professionals.

“It is unlikely that Mr Proverbs’ death could have been prevented.”