Teen kills himself on 4th suicide attempt, mom says authorities did not take his mental health issues seriously
A mother has told the heartbreaking tale of how doctors refused to believe her teenage son had a mental illness despite three separate suicide attempts and killed himself during his fourth attempt.
Vicky Siddorn, from Bebington, Wirral, told the Liverpool Echo that she lost her 19-year-old son Matthew in April 2015, after he struggled for years with mental illness that made him hear voices and told him to hurt himself.
She said Matthew, who has an identical twin called Daniel, had first started showing problems when he was 16 and in high school, but that things only took a turn for the worse after he earned a place to study geology at Leicester University in September 2013.
In February 2014, she said her son called her distressed. "He got really upset and he was crying and he said 'I need help mum,' so I said 'okay, tell me' and he told me he had been hurting himself."
"He said, 'I am hearing voices and I am seeing a figure and it's telling me I've got to hurt myself or it's going to do stuff to my family or the people I love, I'm scared.'"
The mother revealed Matthew kept a journal of his thoughts where he drew the shape he was seeing and described where he was hearing voices, and that he took this to his appointment with mental health services but to little avail.
She said the meeting lasted all of 25 minutes and that he was informed he could go back to the university. A week after returning in September 2014, he had made his first suicide attempt.
He was taken to mental health services once again, but despite having auditory hallucinations and having made a suicide attempt, as well as self-harming, he was once again cleared of mental health illnesses.
One month later, on Halloween, he attempted to take his life for a second time. This time, he had planned and researched it and even left a suicide letter, and his parents forced him to quit university so he could come back home. He was again given no medication, with doctors suggesting "there didn't really seem to be anything much."
In December 2014, he made his third suicide attempt. He had tried to kill himself at his grandmother's house and left a four-page suicide note, but medical professionals again told his parents their son was not mentally ill and could take him home.
On April 20, 2015, the 19-year-old managed to kill himself. "He died on his own in his bedroom - that breaks my heart," Siddorn said.
"Matthew went from really, really handsome, intelligent, articulate, full of life young man with a wicked sense of humor, stubborn as anything, the biggest laugh, the biggest smile to someone who couldn't look in the mirror anymore and that was in 13 months. He did try, he asked for help and did the right thing."
It was only after his death that the family received a diagnosis — he was schizophrenic.
Questions have since been raised about the standard of care provided to the teen, and Gary Flockhart, Director of Nursing, Therapies and Patient Partnership at Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust promised that they have taken measures to address concerns raised.