Campaign calls for open investigations into deaths of mental health patients: England

Anger as hospital’s internal inquiry into death of leading schizophrenia campaigner Janey Antoniou not made public

The Guardian, London, England

Campaigners are fighting for investigations into the deaths of mental health hospital patients – of which there are on average one a day in England and Wales – to be independent and open to scrutiny.

The move follows an inquest into the death of Janey Antoniou, a leading mental health campaigner who had influenced many organisations including Mind, the Royal College of Psychiatry and Rethink Mental Illness.

Janey, 53, was diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of 30. She campaigned tirelessly, acting as an advocate for those using mental health services and becoming a trainer with services such as the police. She died in 2010 in her room at Northwick Park hospital in Harrow, London. …

There were 3,628 deaths in mental health detention (501 self-inflicted) between 2000 and 2010, accounting for 61% of all deaths in state custody. The proportion of deaths recorded from “natural causes” is also exceptionally high. …… investigation must be initiated by the state, independent, effective, open to public scrutiny, reasonably prompt and involve the family. Deborah Coles, co-director of the charity INQUEST, said: “This is a blatant injustice. Too many deaths of very vulnerable people are not being properly investigated by a number of trusts. They are not being held to account. More rigorous robust and transparent investigations play a critical role in learning lessons to safeguard the lives of others.”

Retrieved 06/03/12.


I am particularly interested in this article and glad the UK is addressing the deaths of mental health patients. I’ve want to know why the death of a mental health patient’s who dies during treatment is not reported as murder. Why are there no legal investigations? I experienced the death of 3 while I was being treated for multiple personality disorder, renamed dissociative identity disorder – so were they. Why did they die? Who knows.

Dissociative identity disorder treatment is traumatic and severe –  at times leaving patients emotionally distraught and alone to cope and recover from therapy sessions. Death during psychotherapy may be a taboo subject and one mental health care consumers don’t think about but it’s time to weigh the pros and cons of psychotherapy just as we do before we have surgery or other medical treatments.

Publicly reporting and being held accountable for death-by-psychotherapy will go a long way to exposing potentially harmful treatment.