Man took his own life same day he went to see medics
Mum’s anger at lack of care
A Cambuslang man was assessed twice at a mental health centre on the day he took his own life, the Reformer has learned.
Alan Stewart, a paranoid schizophrenic, attended Eastvale Mental Health Resource Centre in Rutherglen on two occassions on Friday, March 18 and was given a lift home by a community psychiatric nurse (CPN).
On the day he died 41-yearold Alan had shown signs of distress at around 1pm and attended Eastvale Centre. But he fled after lashing out at a doctor.
His mother, Margaret Stewart was contacted by mental health staff and told a bed at Leverndale had been secured for Alan.
Looking after her granddaughter and unable to accompany him, Margaret convinced Alan to go back to Eastvale. On his second visit, at around 3pm, he appeared more calm, was prescribed diazepam and allowed to leave. A nurse drove him home. He was the last person to see Alan alive as less than two hours later he was dead.
Demanding answers from the enquiry, Margaret said: “If they took him to Leverndale, he wouldn’t have been in that state.”
The family of a man who took his own life hours after he was allowed to leave a psychiatric centre say he was “badly let down” by mental health services.
Alan Stewart attended Eastvale Mental Health Resource Centre at Rutherglen Primary Care Centre twice on March 18 and was given a lift home by a community psychiatric nurse (CPN).
But less than two hours later he committed suicide at his Cambuslang home.
Diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia 18 years ago, Alan began to show signs of distress from around midday on March 18.
His mother Margaret became alarmed when he called her and began ranting on the phone. She immediately telephoned Eastvale to say she believed Alan was becoming unwell.
The 41 year old was seen by a mental health team leader and consultant psychiatrist but was so distressed he lashed out, shouted and waved the walking stick he used. Alan was allowed to go outside for a cigarette and left.
Margaret was contacted by mental health staff and told a bed at Leverndale Hospital had been secured for Alan, and that he needed to return to Rutherglen.
Looking after her granddaughter and unable to accompany him, Margaret convinced Alan to go back to Eastvale.
On his second visit at around 3pm he appeared more calm, was prescribed diazepam and allowed to leave.
Soon after Alan called his mother again to say he was going to end his life and after calling the police, she fled to his nearby home. But it was too late. Demanding answers from the enquiry, Margaret said Alan’s consultant psychiatrist – who was not there on the day of his death – had always described his behaviour as “changeable”.
This was because he could “mask” his symptoms within hours of having an upsetting episode.
Margaret said: “I was always pointing that out to them because he could go into hospital at 4pm and by 5pm they could think, ‘why is he here?” They did know that about him [ masking his symptoms] because I always made them aware of that.
“They are the professionals, they should have known.
“If they took him to Leverndale he wouldn’t have been in that state.”
Explaining the Stewart family had lodged a complaint with NHS Lanarkshire, Margaret added: “I went to Eastvale on Monday, March 21. I saw the man who had been Alan’s CPN for 13 years and one of his colleagues. I told them what we thought, that they had failed in their duty of care. The fact he was so upset and looked like he was going to be violent towards a doctor, the mere fact that happened means he should have been hospitalised or sectioned and not allowed to leave the building.
“They let him down badly and I, in no uncertain terms, told them that. If they had kept him in there he would be here today.
“The one and only time I wasn’t there with him that’s what happened.
“It’s too late for my son but for someone else’s son or daughter it may help.”
Iain MacKenzie, service manager for mental health and learning disability services at NHS Lanarkshire, said: “Our thoughts and sympathies go out to the family at this difficult time.
“NHS Lanarkshire’s mental health and learning disability service is currently conducting a review in line with both Health Improvement Scotland guidance and the NHS Lanarkshire adverse event process.
“As part of the review process we will contact the patient’s family to give them the opportunity to share their views and raise any questions they have.
It’s too late for my son but for someone else’s son or daughter it may help Alan’s mum Margaret
“A copy of the final report will be provided to the family.”
Pe op l e experiencing depression are encouraged to seek help.
Breathing Space is a free and confidential phone- line service for any individual who is experiencing low mood or depression. The number is 0800 83 85 87 and it is open between 6pm and 2am daily and 24 hours weekends.
Samaritans are available 24 hours a day to provide confidential emotional support for people who are experiencing feelings of distress or despair. People can call on 08457 90 90 90 or email email@example.com.
Tragic Alan Stewart tried to get help twice on the day he took his own life
Twice Alan attended Eastvale Primary Care Centre in Rutherglen twice on the day of his death
Tributes Floral tributes were left for Alan following his death on March 18.