A LYMINGTON man with a long-standing history of depression and anxiety died after taking an overdose of his prescription medication.
Samuel Hayes (22), of Fairlea Road, was found by his mother Kirsty around 6.30pm on 16th August last year.
Winchester Coroner’s Court heard Mr Hayes lived alone, having spent most of his life in care. He had been on medication since the age of six and was first admitted to a psychiatric ward when he was 12, she explained. He was also diagnosed with autism around this time.
Mrs Hayes explained she spoke daily to her son and their relationship was “much better” than in previous years.
She told the court that on 14th August she had received a call from Mr Hayes, who said he had called the emergency services as he had taken an overdose and gone to the railway tracks near his home.
Referring to his previous self-harm attempts, she said: “He rang me every time he did it. He would say ‘too many’ or say where he was, and I would know what he meant.”
The court heard Mr Hayes was taken by paramedics to her home in Hythe later that evening and the following day she took him home, as he had an appointment with his probation officer.
The inquest heard how Mr Hayes had been given a 24-week sentence, half of which was served in Winchester prison, for assault. He was released in April 2018.
Mrs Hayes said she had spoken to her son on the phone at 6.30pm the day before she found his body and they had a brief conversation.
Referring to his prison spell, she said he was moved to the healthcare ward on his second day after becoming mute. He also experienced psychotic episodes and would hear voices in his head.
The inquest heard Mr Hayes had suffered problems with his neighbours and Mrs Hayes had requested he be moved to supported housing.
She said: “He was scared and anxious all the time. The housing was a big factor. He didn’t like living there, he was scared.” He also had worries over unpaid bills, she added.
A statement from Dr Shehzad Khan, a consultant psychiatrist at the Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, said Mr Hayes had a “difficult and traumatic” childhood and suffered with autism. He had also been diagnosed with an emotionally unstable personality disorder.
Although his risk of suicide was assessed as low, he frequently had impulsive suicidal thoughts in response to stress. This meant he was at a high risk of an accidental overdose.
The inquest also heard from clinical psychologist Sian Williams, who began working with Mr Hayes on a weekly basis from March 2018.
She said: “At times he felt very hopeless and wanted to die. At other times he engaged in [certain] behaviours as he felt it was the only way he could get people to listen. If he felt people weren’t listening or validating how he felt, this was a big trigger.”
Commenting on his weekly session with Mrs Williams, his mother added: “Sian really got him – she understood. But it all came a little too late. He had difficult experiences with previous mental health practitioners. I wish he had met her years ago.”
Probation officer Neil Finney told the court that he was assigned to Mr Hayes, who was given 40 weeks supervision post sentence.
He said: “I felt I had a good relationship [with him]. He was very open in the meetings and he had a lot to talk about. I had to step back a lot of times and say that a lot of what he would talk about should be discussed with Sian Williams.”
He added that at times he felt Mr Hayes was in crisis but was not getting the help he needed. At their last session on 15th August he said he felt it had been a positive meeting and had no cause for concern.
Pathologist Dr Adrian Bateman, who conducted the post mortem examination, gave Mr Hayes’ cause of death as a mixed drugs overdose. Toxicology results showed he had fatally high levels of painkillers, sleeping tablets and anti-psychotic medication in his system.
Coroner Grahame Short recorded a conclusion that Mr Hayes took his own life and said a note found by his bed simply said: “Sorry mum”.
He said: “On this occasion, Samuel did not call the emergency services or his mother, which is significant compared to previous occasions.
“It’s very clear from all I’ve heard that Samuel had a troubled life [and] he had a very extensive mental health history. It’s also very clear that some of the medical professionals who treated him were able to help Sam and give him support.”
He added: “This wasn’t the case for all and due to his condition, he felt let down by other mental health professionals. He clearly was someone who struggled to cope, despite the help he’d been given.”
The Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or at www.samaritans.org.