Dr Ben Ashmore of Mullion and Constantine Group Practice has criticised the state of Cornwall’s mental health services. At a hearing into the suicide of Benjamin Colin Williamson, a 27-year-old Cornwall man, Dr Ashmore expressed concerns that there is a dearth of facilities in place to treat adult mental health issues, and inadequate communication between the different services.
The deceased who committed suicide on April 4 at his Constantine home had suffered from frequent bouts of alcoholism and may have had undiagnosed anxiety and mental disorders as well. He received help from the drug and alcohol agency Addaction for his drinking as well as counselling from the charity The Freshfield Service.
Dr Ashmore said of the state of Cornwall’s mental health services, “It seems to me that the mental health services in Cornwall seem very fragmented. On occasions it can feel as if individuals are bouncing between services and no-one takes responsibility for them.”
Those who knew him expressed surprise at his suicide, claiming that he had seemed well and on the way to recovery.
Dr Ashmore, however, believes that they didn’t do enough to ensure the young man’s mental wellbeing saying,
“There was no correspondence from Addaction and Freshfield. There was no form of feedback and as a GP you are quite central to a patients’ care and you reply on other agencies reporting back. I don’t think this relates to one individual clinician. It relates to the system and the way it is set up.
“Alcohol was clearly a huge issue for Ben but that is not what drove him to drink. He drank in order to mitigate some of the symptoms of his anxiety. I think my colleagues at Addaction recognised that but my colleagues at the community mental health team did not.”