Mum-of-three killed herself hours after GP said he’d ‘call back tomorrow’

A mother committed suicide just hours after discussing how bad her mental health was with her doctor, an inquest has heard.

Clare Nadia Childes, was discovered hanging and unresponsive in her living room by her son’s girlfriend, just two hours after a phone consultation with her GP.

The 45-year-old was drunk on the day she took her own life and had consumed a large bottle of wine, which meant the doctor was hesitant to refer the mum-of-three to a mental health crisis team.

At the inquest into her death this week Dr Gwilym Evans said he was concerned for Mrs Childe’s wellbeing at the time – added that with hindsight he would have made an immediate referral.

Clare Nadia Childes said she was suicidal but her GP didn’t refer her to a mental health crisis team

On March 31, the day Mrs Childe died, she told her son’s girlfriend Llinos Packam – who lived at the same property – she was “struggling to cope”.

Ms Packham advised the mum-of-three to call her GP and Dr Evans responded to her with a callback within 10 minutes.

Dr Evans told the hearing: “I had never spoken to Clare before that day but I could hear tension in her voice.

“She told me she was stressed, felt very unwell and was thinking about killing herself.

“She numbered problems with her personal life including her drinking, that she was smoking cannabis every day, had financial troubles, had lost her father and had a breakdown in the relationship with her partner.

“She also said that lockdown had made her feel more unwell.

“I was concerned for her and told her I would speak to the mental health team and said I’d give her a ring tomorrow.

“She told me she might hang herself later on that evening but I was concerned that the mental health team would decline to see her because she had been drinking so I said I would ring her back as soon as I could.”

After the conversation, Ms Packham said she tried to comfort the 45-year-old by telling her to focus on her grandchildren, according to a North Wales Live report.

She then left the property in Caernarfon, Wales after Mrs Childes told her she would not harm herself.

Miss Packham said: “I reminded her that she had a grandson and a granddaughter on the way and that she should try to concentrate on that.

“She told me she wasn’t going to do anything and I told her to call me if she needed me.”

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Mc Packham returned home 40 minutes later and found Mrs Childes hanging and unresponsive. She then called the emergency services who pronounced her dead at the scene.

Before her death Mrs Childes had been crying and saying she “couldn’t cope” and felt she “wasn’t fit to be a grandmother”, her daughter, Kimberley Childes, said in a statement.

She said: “She had a history of poor mental health which worsened during lockdown.

“After Christmas she went downhill.

“Mam begged the doctor to do something but she was told to wait until the next day.

“I never imagined she would do something like this.

“She loved going out and socialising and will be sadly missed by family and friends.”

At the inquest, Dr Evans said he had taken a suicide prevention training course after hearing of Mrs Childe’s death.

Following the incident, Dr Evans has given presentations on how the mental health reporting system could be improved.

He said if he faced the same situation again, he would “make the referral straight away now”.

“At the time I was concerned about the presentation of Clare as she told me she had drank a lot and I was concerned they would not be willing to accept a referral if she was under the influence of alcohol,” he added.

He didn’t believe her to be in immediate crisis, because she hadn’t indicated she might take her life immediately.

Dr Evans also said he wanted to wait until the effects of the alcohol had worn off.

The doctor said he called her back at 5.45pm but the call went straight to voicemail.

Concluding that Mrs Childes had died as a result of hanging, acting senior coroner Katie Sutherland said she was struggling with financial concerns, her alcohol intake and relationship breakdown.

Though a referral was not made to the crisis team, Ms Sutherland said the process of being referred was in Mrs Childe’s mind at the time of her death.

She was then left alone for 40 minutes before being found at 3.45pm, Ms Sutherland adds.

Although she had a supportive family, Mrs Childes was “clearly troubled for a long time despite the support around her”, Ms Sutherland concluded.

The coroner has now requested more evidence to determine whether or not to make a Preventing Future Deaths report.

If you’re struggling and need to talk, the Samaritans operate a free helpline open 24/7 on 116 123. Alternatively, you can email [email protected] or visit their site to find your local branch.

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