Student hanged herself after learning of year-long wait for mental health care

A student hanged herself after she found she would have to wait up to a year to access NHS mental health services, an inquest heard yesterday.

Nicole Kaye, 21, had been put on the lengthy NHS waiting list to access "intensive therapy" in an attempt to help her psychosis – even though she had been flagged as a suicide risk.

Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust told her inquest it was only able to work "with the resources that we have".

However, Ms Kaye was found hanged in a cupboard at her parents' home in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, soon after finding out about the wait.

"It is very unfortunate that it was not able to be started straightaway. It took four months for the assessment to take place, but we were with the resources that we have," Dr Daniel Maughan, a consultant psychiatrist from the Warneford Hospital in Oxford, said.

And Darren Salter, senior coroner for Oxfordshire, concluded a verdict of suicide.

He said: "The correct conclusion is suicide, on the basis that Nicole did the act, on the balance of probabilities at least.

"If the trust could write to me on what the position is regarding that treatment, I think it might be helpful for families as well to have a note of what the position is going forward. It would be helpful and reassuring to understand if there is a prospect of funds becoming available."

Ms Kaye, who studied fine arts at Sheffield Hallam University, was highlighted as a suicide risk when she went missing in August last year. She was detained under the Mental Health Act.

The inquest was told concerns were raised that Ms Kaye had misinterpreted research about the potential withdrawal symptoms of quitting smoking cannabis.

It is believed the part-time florist may have started smoking the drug again shortly before her death in the hope of becoming well.

But cleaners at her parents home found her dead on February 21 this year.

Dr Daniel Maughan added: "I am very concerned about our lack of psychological provision and, unfortunately, we haven't been successful in getting funds for more psychologists, so the waiting list remains a year."

However, he said it was "speculative" whether Ms Kaye receiving intensive therapy would have helped her in time, as it can take months for patients to improve. Ms Kaye was considered at low risk of suicide at her previous assessment.

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