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A personal trainer died after being unable to access mental health support during the pandemic, an inquest was told.
Hannah Hathaway was collapsed outside a church after suffering a cardiac arrest.
Despite paramedics administering advanced life support and her being rushed to the hospital, she died on July 21, reports Birmingham Live.
The 27-year-old, from Edgbaston, Birmingham, initially started drinking several years ago to help calm her anxiety attacks, brought on by a history of trauma.
She had “intensive” support for her addictions, but relapsed shortly before her death, the Birmingham coroner’s court heard.
Her mum Helen Nickolds, said she had been “cut off” from accessing mental health support amid the pandemic, making it difficult to maintain her sobriety.
She warned more drug-related deaths are imminent unless the “stigma” of addiction is addressed and mental health services improve.
Helen said: “Addiction shows no discrimination to class, colour or creed. She was a beautiful, intelligent, kind woman whose zest for life trickled like a stream to everyone who knew her.
“Our lives will never be the same. She was a very much loved daughter, aunt and sister…forever a missing part.”
Hannah, who was living in supported accommodation at the time, last spoke to her mum on July 17.
Her concerned mum called West Midlands Police as her daughter would always make contact “even in her darkest times”.
She previously launched a desperate media appeal after the force allegedly “refused to list her as a missing person”, since which WMP has said lessons can be learned.
She would be on the phone for “two hours ” on occasions as she requested help from the police, the court heard.
She said in her statement: “I was calling 111 from July 18, sometimes being on the phone for two hours until I had a knock on the door saying she had been in hospital for four days.”
Ms Nickolds claimed police did not “put two and two together” as her daughter was missing, but lay unidentified in hospital.
Unbeknown to her mum at the time, on July 18, she had been discovered in a cardiac arrest at City Road Methodist Church in Edgbaston, the inquest heard.
Paramedics administered advanced life support and she was rushed to City Hospital as an “unidentified female”.
Police attended twice to take her fingerprints in a bid to identify her, the court heard.
Her family were informed she was at the hospital, where she sadly died on July 21.
Area coroner Emma Brown concluded Hannah’s death was “drug-related”, adding that her tolerance to the drugs had likely been reduced from her periods of abstinence.
She ruled out any deliberate intention to “bring about her death”.
Her cause of death was recorded as brain stem death caused by hypoxic–ischaemic brain injury as a result of a cardiac arrest from alcohol dependence.
“Every time she got clean, we would try to access mental health support,” her mum said in her statement to the court.
But by the time she was given an appointment, “then she would relapse. It became a vicious circle”.
Trying to “receive support” was “nearly impossible”, she said. “In nine months of sobriety, she was still not able to access mental health support.”Mrs Nickoldssaid: “Everyone has their own opinion of addicts and many are quick to judge but more empathy should be given to understanding addiction.
“Nobody chooses to be an addict, nobody chooses that lifestyle. Some people become addicted for all types of reasons; a lot are trauma based.
“The mental health services were definitely not there. If Hannah could have accessed them a lot sooner than she did, we might not be having this conversation.
“Due to the pandemic, it’s just getting worse. I work in the NHS and I can see a tsunami of mental health issues and the lack of resources and how long it’s taking people who are in desperate situations to get the help; it’s awful.
“People die, funerals are held, then they are forgotten by the vast majority. Hannah won’t be forgotten, I’ll make sure of it.”
West Midlands Police, responding to the complaint from Mrs Nickolds, said the service provided at the time was “not acceptable and learning by reflection was identified for a member of staff” after advice was given.
“Hannah was never registered as missing but was subsequently identified as being in hospital.
“We have spoken to Mrs Nickolds and our thoughts remain with family and friends at this difficult time.”
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