Mentally ill Conal Browning's care 'cold and confrontational'

The mother of a mentally ill man who hanged himself has spoken of the "cold and confrontational" care he received at a Southampton hospital.

Conal Browning, 25, was found dead in August 2010 after going missing from Antelope House Adult Mental Health Unit.

He had been moved from Oxford weeks earlier against his parents' wishes.

Raia Browning told the inquest into his death: "I didn't see people being warm with him or empathetic."

She added: "It was a cold and clinical place to be."

He was left alone a lot and appeared to be isolated and some of the staff had been confrontational with him, which her son had found "wounding and deeply hurtful", Mrs Browning added.

'Took no notice'

She also told the hearing at Southampton Coroner's Court that Mr Browning, who had suffered with paranoid schizophrenia since his early teens, was about to start a university course in philosophy.

He had "a good sense of humour" and had dealt with his long illness with "great fortitude", she said.

In 2009 he had been making progress, was living in supported housing in Oxford but had made a friend in Southampton and expressed a wish to move there.

But in 2010 his mental health deteriorated and in June he was sectioned and placed at Warneford Hospital in Oxford, and later moved to Southampton.

Mrs Browning said she and his father were not happy with the move, or with way he was treated.

She said they had wanted a more empathetic approach to his care, but staff were not interested in that.

"We've never had any sense that anyone took any notice of anything that we said," she told the hearing. "They were not in the slightest bit interested."

Less than two months after the move, Mr Browning travelled to East Sussex where he hanged himself.

He was reported missing and his body was later discovered by a police officer.

The inquest continues.

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