Ceara Thacker death: Strikes contributed to care delays, inquest told

Ceara Thacker Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Ceara Thacker took an overdose three months before her death

A student who hanged herself faced a two-month delay before seeing a mental health adviser, her inquest has heard.

Ceara Thacker, of Bradford, was found dead in her halls of residence at the University of Liverpool in May 2018.

"Exceptional circumstances" including strike action were blamed for the wait for her to see an adviser, a university employee told the hearing.

Ms Thacker's family was unaware she had taken an overdose three months before her death, the inquest has also heard.

She had suffered mental health problems since she was 13 and had a history of depression and self-harm, the inquest at Gerard Majella Courthouse has been told.

The teenager referred herself to the university's mental health advisory service on 22 February, the day after she was admitted to hospital following the overdose, but it was not until 24 April she had an appointment with a mental health adviser.

Image copyright FAMILY HANDOUT
Image caption Iain Thacker said his daughter was "perceptive, intelligent, loyal, funny and extremely kind"

"We were in exceptional circumstances at this time," the director of student administration and support Paula Harrison Woods told the hearing.

She said it was a period of industrial action, staff sickness and annual leave, and that a mental health adviser quitting had also contributed to delays.

Dr Harrison Woods said more staff had been taken on since Ms Thacker's death and guidelines about asking students suffering mental health problems whether they wanted their families to be informed had also been established.

Ms Thacker's father Iain, from Guiseley, Leeds, has told the inquest her death was a "terrible shock" and had the family been told what was happening, it "would have made a difference".

He has criticised the university for not telling the family about the overdose.

The inquest continues.

Image caption Ms Thacker started university in September 2017

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