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Mental health trust making improvements after suicide of Suffolk mother-of-two

PUBLISHED: 05:30 12 June 2019 | UPDATED: 15:21 12 June 2019

Ellen Armstrong, 41, from Gresham Road in Beccles, was found hanged at her home on April 6, 2018 Picture: CONTRIBUTED BY FAMILY

Ellen Armstrong, 41, from Gresham Road in Beccles, was found hanged at her home on April 6, 2018 Picture: CONTRIBUTED BY FAMILY

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A failing mental health trust accepted it needed to make improvements following the suicide of a mother-of-two in its care.

Suffolk Coroners Court in Ipswich Picture: ADAM HOWLETTSuffolk Coroners Court in Ipswich Picture: ADAM HOWLETT

Ellen Armstrong, 41, of Gresham Road, Beccles, was found hanged at her home by her father on April 6, 2018.

Having taken anti-depressants for the last 10 years of her life, her mental health worsened after spending nine months in multiple hospitals following the birth of her second child.

A Serious Incident report was published by the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) after Miss Armstrong's death, calling for improvements to be made trust-wide.

Acknowledging the NSFT's shortcomings, medical director Bohdan Solomka said at the inquest: "The communication and handover between crisis and community teams did not lead to a coherent care plan.

"We have made improvements to the communication between our staff and we are also reviewing the pressures on teams to discharge patients into the community."

An intelligent and bright young woman, Miss Armstrong was a trained scuba diving instructor and had taught English in Romania.

Fighting back tears as she gave evidence at Ipswich Coroners Court, Miss Armstrong's mother Heather Coleman said: "Instinctively she just drew people to her, she was a kind and caring person who always looked to help the people she met.

"No matter how she was feeling she would shower her children with love and attention."

The inquest heard Miss Armstrong felt her drugs did not improve her mental health, with some doses leaving her feeling disconnected from her emotions.

She attempted to take her own life while in hospital in 2018, meaning she was unable to see her young children unsupervised.

After being discharged and allowed home, Miss Armstrong spoke to her NSFT care co-ordinator Mandy Kirby on April 4, and appeared to be more positive and planning for the future.

Nigel Parsley, senior coroner for Suffolk, said: "Ellen was adamant she wanted to get her children back, she was planning a holiday with her father and daughter."

Speaking to Miss Armstrong's mother and care co-ordinator, Mr Parsley assured them there was "no way you could have possibly known what was going to occur".

If you are struggling with feelings of desperation or isolation you can contact the Samaritans on 116123.

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