Maldon mum’s fight for justice after system failed son, Matthew Leahy

A petition urging a “radical overhaul” of mental health services has almost reached 12,000 signatures.

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/255823

The campaign has been set up by the mother of Matthew Leahy, who was found hanged at Chelmsford’s Linden Centre in 2012.

An inquest into his death found there had been multiple failings and, seven years on, a report into the Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, found things have not improved.

The report, by the Care Quality Commission watchdog, found that a host of improvements are still needed despite several deaths and a police investigation.

Mum Melanie, who lives in the Maldon district, is calling for a “radical overhaul” of Britain’s mental health system and a public inquiry into the death of her son Matthew, who was 20 years old at the time.

Mrs Leahy is promoting the petition online, including on a Facebook group called ‘Justice for Matthew Leahy Failed by the State’, which currently has thousands of followers.

The petition has now reached almost 12,000 signatures, with 100,000 needed to see the issue debated in Parliament.

And the petition is continuing to gain national attention, with MP Priti Patel, now the Home Secretary, adding her support in recent months.

Worsley and Eccles South Labour MP Barbara Keeley also raised the issue in Parliament on Thursday last week.

She urged Thurrock MP and then minister for suicide, Jackie Doyle-Price, to hold an inquiry into Matthew’s death. She said: “There have also been issues with the subsequent investigation.

“The initial report by the NHS partnership contained inaccuracies about how Matthew’s care had been planned.

“Across the board, the partnership failed to learn the lessons of Matthew’s death, which compounds the tragedy of that young man taking his own life while he was in the care of the state.

“There should be independent investigations of deaths that occur in mental health hospitals.

“I know that the minister has been asked before to set up an inquiry into Matthew Leahy’s death.

“I ask her to commit to doing so now, so that we can learn the lessons from that tragic event and prevent such a thing from happening again.”

Ms Doyle-Price said the debate was one of the most “well informed” she had been involved in.

She said: “It is incredible to hear 

what people have to cope with on a daily basis

“When we are talking about people with severe mental ill health, every day is like survival.”

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