Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Teresa Colvin's husband leads Southern Health suicide prevention plan

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Media captionTeresa Colvin's husband leads Southern Health suicide prevention plan

The husband of a woman who took her own life at a mental health unit is leading a suicide prevention campaign at the NHS trust that failed to protect her.

Teresa Colvin, 45, was under the care of Southern Health when she died in Southampton in 2012.

In 2018, the trust was fined £2m for health and safety failings that contributed to her death and that of another patient, Connor Sparrowhawk.

Roger Colvin is now working with the trust to help prevent further deaths.

Mrs Colvin died at Southampton General Hospital on 26 April 2012 after she was found unconscious at Woodhaven Adult Mental Health Hospital near Calmore.

In November 2017, following a campaign by her husband to uncover the truth, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust admitted failing to protect her from serious self-harm.

Image copyright Roger Colvin
Image caption Teresa Colvin with her husband Roger

In March last year, the trust was fined £950,000 for Mrs Colvin's death and more than £1m for that of Mr Sparrowhawk, 18, who drowned in a bath at a unit in Oxford in 2013.

The trust admitted both deaths had been preventable and avoidable.

Since then, Mr Colvin has given presentations to trust staff about what happened to his wife and has helped lead the new project.

"Once you realise that there's no turning the clock back the only way is forward - and the only way is to make a difference, and the best way is trying to help people avoid getting into the situation that we've all been in," he said.

The Every Life Matters campaign includes the distribution of "life cards" to 6,000 trust staff as well as to patients, carers and members of the public.

The cards are printed with phone and text numbers and details of apps and websites offering help, training and advice.

Image caption Connor Sparrowhawk and Teresa Colvin died while in the care of Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

Dr Nick Broughton, the trust's chief executive, said he felt "so lucky" to have Mr Colvin working with the trust.

"The ultimate goal is that we prevent every single suicide and there are no suicides across Hampshire, now is that possible?" he said.

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Media captionSouthern Health boss explains motive behind suicide prevention plan

"Probably not, being frank, but our ambition is to significantly reduce the number of suicides."

Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed 101 people in Hampshire took their own lives last year, compared to 88 people in 2016 and 98 in 2017.

Nationally, the figure has risen for the first time since 2013.

Where to get help

If you are in the UK, you can call the Samaritans on 116123 or Lifeline on 0808 808 8000.

For support and more information on emotional distress, click here.

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