Tees

Middlesbrough mental health death: Christie Harnett 'let down'

Christie Harnett Image copyright Michael Harnett
Image caption Christie Harnett was an "amazing" and "kind girl", her family said

A family whose daughter died in a mental health hospital has called for action to prevent other youngsters harming themselves.

Christie Harnett, 17, had been in care facilities for two years and died at Middlesbrough's West Lane Hospital on 27 June. It is believed she took her own life.

Her step-father said her death happened "in a place meant to help her".

Health chiefs said an investigation will be launched.

The hospital has had admissions temporarily suspended by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to "to protect the safety and welfare of residents".

Ms Harnett suffered a number of mental health issues, including hearing voices, which led her to self-harm and make multiple attempts to take her own life.

She was found dead after telling staff at the hospital she wished to take a bath.

Image copyright Michael Harnett
Image caption The teenager was a talented musician and enjoyed singing, her family said

Her step-father, Michael Harnett, alleges during her time there workers restrained her without warning, illegally strip-searched her and allowed a male member of staff to be present while she was naked.

Mr Harnett said: "Something needs to be done before anything happens to the other children.

"We had a child in the place that was meant to help keep her safe, and she managed to kill herself.

"Our daughter went in there and got a lot worse. It doesn't seem anyone's getting better or getting help."

Mr Harnett added that in the months before her death, his daughter "should've been listened to" rather than repeatedly being discharged by different care facilities.

He said despite her suicidal tendencies, care workers were reluctant to section her under the Mental Health Act due to her age.

Image caption Michael Harnett said he is overwhelmed by the number of colourful tributes to Christie

Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Trust said it would be "inappropriate" to comment on Ms Harnett's care but confirmed an investigation will be conducted.

It added it was taking "immediate and urgent actions" to address concerns raised by the CQC.

Concerns about the hospital were first raised with the trust in November and in March it was revealed 13 members of staff were facing disciplinary proceedings over the alleged ill treatment of patients.

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