'We will remain forever proud' - tribute to James, 16, after inquest

Coplestn High School is to discuss the possible wider use of face masks. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

James Sutton was a student at Copleston High School in Ipswich - Credit: Charlotte Bond

The parents of a 16-year-old boy who died days after his request for mental health support was downgraded have paid tribute to his bravery to reach out for help.

Sabine and Geoffrey Sutton, from Ipswich, said they hope no one else is treated similarly to their son James and that changes made in response to his death "safeguard" future children who reach out for help.

The inquest heard the Copleston High School pupil was referred to be seen by the Emotional Wellbeing Hub within 72 hours but this was downgraded to 28 days. 

In a statement following the inquest on Tuesday, Mr and Mrs Sutton said: "We remain devastated by the loss of our wonderful son James.

"We sincerely hope that effective changes to procedure by [Orchard Medical Practice] and Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) are implemented swiftly and are reviewed regularly in order to safeguard the next child or young person who picks up the phone to ask for help.

"We will remain forever proud of James who was brave enough to seek and reach out for medical help."

At an inquest into his death on Tuesday, Mrs Sutton told the inquest: "He was not the James we remember. James was seriously ill. James had not always been like this."

“He was a really determined, independent boy, as well as musical and caring.

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“He worked really hard and was working at his A-levels and making plans for the future and to go to university.”

DCI at Suffolk police Steve Duncan

DCI at Suffolk police Steve Duncan - Credit: Suffolk police

DCI Steve Duncan, of Suffolk police, said: “James very intelligent and articulate young man and tried to handle the issue and used models and ways of dealing.

“There was no indication he wasn’t dealing with it.

“He tried to sort it out himself and couldn’t."

Stuart Richardson, NSFT chief operating officer, has said solutions have now been found at the Stell

Stuart Richardson, NSFT chief operating officer - Credit: Archant

New measures following an investigation by NSFT into the wellbeing hub will see GPs receive extra training to refer patients and more trained mental health staff at the hub. 

Stuart Richardson, chief executive at NSFT said: "James’ death was a tragedy and I'm sorry for his family's loss.

“Our internal investigation highlighted missed opportunities to help James. Changes have already been made to prevent this happening again, including a new referral form for GPs and direct referrals to our early intervention in psychosis team.

"Our staff are working closely with our GP colleagues to provide training and support to help them identify when to refer directly to specialist teams and we’re introducing specialist mental health practitioners for under 18s in primary care networks to work alongside GPs.”

If you need help and support, call Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust’s First Response helpline 0808 196 3494 or the Samaritans on 116 123. Both services are available 24 hours 7 days a week. You can also download the Stay Alive app on Apple & Android

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