Tragic Death of Man with Mental Illness Raises Concerns About Care at Littlebrook Hospital

The tragic death of Jonathan O’Shea at Littlebrook Hospital in Dartford has raised concerns about the mental health care provided at the facility. O’Shea, a 37-year-old man known to his friends as JJ, had been struggling with bipolar disorder and depression for most of his life. Despite being deemed at risk of suicide, O’Shea was able to take his own life while under the care of the mental health facility.

According to his mother, Anne Power, O’Shea had a long history of mental health issues stemming from a traumatic sexual assault he experienced in prep school. Despite being prescribed medication and receiving treatment, O’Shea had attempted to take his life on several occasions. He also suffered from PTSD as a result of the assault.

O’Shea was admitted to Littlebrook Hospital under section 2 of the Mental Health Act after he sent an email to police claiming he wanted to harm himself and others. However, this was later found to be false and part of a psychotic episode. His mother had requested that the mental health team continue to care for O’Shea in Somerset, where he was arrested, but this was refused due to him being registered with a Kent GP.

On the night of his death, O’Shea had been observed by staff four times an hour, which is considered the least intensive observation procedure on the ward. However, three days after his admission, this was reduced to just once an hour without proper discussion or documentation. O’Shea’s observations were also lowered to once every hour during the night, which ultimately led to his tragic death.

The inquest into O’Shea’s death has revealed that there were lapses in communication and care at the hospital. The deputy ward manager, Helen Wright, and consultant psychiatrist, Dr Rachel Daly, both stated they were not aware of O’Shea’s previous suicide attempts and did not recall a discussion about reducing his observations. The staff on duty at the time of O’Shea’s death were also found to be unprepared and panicked, which may have contributed to the delay in providing life-saving measures.

The inquest continues, and the Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust is being approached for comment. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues, please reach out for help. The Samaritans can be contacted at 116 123 or through their website. Let us hope that improvements are made in the mental health care system to prevent tragedies like this from happening in the future.

The text and images in this article are generated with the assistance of AI and may contain errors. Please verify any important information as we cannot accept any responsibility for incorrect information.

Scroll to Top