A WOMAN whose son died from suicide is calling for legislation changes to be made so that other families can get the support they need.

Dianne Martin, who lives in North Hinksey, claimed her youngest son Leon Gledhill, who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia for more than 20 years and died in 2019, should never have been discharged by Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust back to the care of his GP.

She said the family's pleas fell on deaf ears and now wants legislation to enable third parties such as families to refer a person with long-term mental health conditions back to mental health services.

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She said the proposed legislation would have allowed her to refer Mr Gledhill back to mental health services when his schizophrenia deteriorated.

She is being backed by Oxford West and Abingdon MP Layla Moran, who is planning to put a Private Members Bill to Parliament in September.

Mr Gledhill was found dead by police barricaded in his Crescent Road flat in Oxford on February 3 2019.

After his death, Ms Martin told the Oxford Mail she blamed a chronic lack of mental health funding for allowing her schizophrenic son to “fall through the cracks” in the run up to his suicide.

She said: “Leon lived independently and, quite rightly, he could make decisions about his daily life. But, he was not in a good position to assess whether it would be in his best interest to be discharged.

"The mental health team should have protected him from making a very bad decision in this regard."

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The 44-year-old, who had to be sectioned in 2004, had been receiving treatment, including anti-psychotic drugs and meetings with a mental health team, but this was handed over to his GP in June, 2017.

An internal review of the events leading up to Mr Gledhill's death found Oxford Health, which provides mental health services across the county, acted appropriately and in accordance with his wishes.

His mother however, said she believed her son's death was “preventable” and that had he not been “dumped” by Oxford Health he would likely still be alive.

She said: "Being supervised by the mental health team with a care plan, and having a care co-ordinator with whom he would meet about once a month, gave him a measure of stability.

"The likely consequence of Leon being discharged was that he would spiral downwards. Proper regard was not taken of our views about how ill he was and how he would cope."

The trust conducted an investigation following his death and as a result it has increased the timeframe for patients to be able to self-refer back to its adult mental health teams to 12 months following discharge.


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This story was written by Anna Colivicchi, she joined the team this year and covers health stories for the Oxfordshire papers. 

Get in touch with her by emailing: Anna.colivicchi@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @AnnaColivicchi