A CORONER has blasted medics for 'inappropriate' comments made to a television executive who was receiving mental health treatment after her son's suicide.

Helene Beauchamp, 46, was hospitalised after an attempted overdose on the night of her son's funeral on December 23, 2018.

She killed herself four months later while living in Andover with her boyfriend after taking a fatal dose of medication, an inquest in Winchester heard.

The court was told how Helene fell into a 'downward spiral' after finding her teenage son James, a ballet dancer who performed in the West End, dead at their family home in Tring, Hertfordshire, on December 5, 2018.

The devastated mother told medics she had 'nothing to live for' and was admitted to hospital but was told by staff at The Whiteleaf Centre in Aylesbury that she was 'still young' and there was time for her to have 'more children'.

Assistant coroner Samantha Marsh criticised the employee for the 'inappropriate' comments made to the former Sky TV executive, who had worked on programmes Birds of a Feather and Goodnight Sweetheart.

The inquest heard how Helene was released from hospital on March 27, 2019, and moved down to Andover for a fresh start, to stay with her long-term partner.

However on April 10, 2019, she took an overdose of tablets. She suffered a heart attack and died five days later in hospital.

The inquest heard she had wanted to avoid her boyfriend or any relatives finding her body so went to an Andover doctor's surgery. She was rushed to Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital where she died five days later.

The coroner was told that Mrs Beauchamp worked in TV production for 20 years and was a lover of food, ballet and travel. She first sparked concern when she told a crisis team that she wanted to be buried on the same day as James as she had "nothing to live for as her life was her and her son.".

The proud mother often tweeted about ballet in support of her 16-year-old son, who performed in The Nutcracker in December 2015 at Her Majesty’s Theatre.

Alexander Langford, a consultant psychiatrist at The Whiteleaf Centre, Aylesbury, where she was admitted, told the hearing: "Helene was admitted to my ward twice, first in December 2018. She had only been in distress for a short period of time, she had lost her son James but prior to that she had no significant mental health difficulties.

"Helene was talking about not being comfortable being at home due to the intrusive memories. She was talking about going around the world which worried the people around her.

"We were immediately struck by how different she was from the other patients, she was grieving. Being on the ward was hard for Helene surrounded by those mentally ill, brought back memories of her son who struggled with mental health difficulties.

"Every time we spoke to her the loss of James was central to how she felt, she said if James was to somehow come back, she would be fine."

The coroner criticised the "inappropriate" comments made by Helene’s care coordinator.

She said: "The comments made were ‘you’re still young you can still have more children’ and ‘God’s plan was to take your son’ which were entirely inappropriate, they are not going to make her feel better."

Dr Langford replied: "They are disgusting comments. The woman was not a member of my staff, I would have been more direct with her. Clearly they were inappropriate comments."

Mrs Marsh went on: "I was actually horrified that somebody would say that to Helene or to anybody for that matter and if she still worked for the trust I would expect a written explanation, but she doesn’t."

Although Mrs Beauchamp was considered a high suicide risk, she was discharged from the Aylesbury centre on March 27 2019.

Mr Langford said: "Two months at the centre and there were no significant improvements to Helene’s grief. She continued to find the ward restrictive, robbing her of her freedom and hope. We really believed she stood a significant chance of hurting herself but within that she fluctuated.

"She said that if she was to rebuild her life, move to Andover and build a support plan, then maybe she would be able to cope with her grief. In my clinical career, Helene was the hardest challenge, she was something else.

Following a weekend bereavement retreat in Bedfordshire, on April 10 2019, Mrs Beauchamp approached the receptionist of her new doctors' surgery and announced that she had overdosed.

A statement from Southern Health said: "Helene went to see her GP, collapsed and went into cardiac arrest. She experienced further cardiac arrest in the emergency department of the hospital in Basingstoke.

"Helene took an overdose of drugs purchased over the internet due to the sudden unexpected bereavement of her only son. She described having constant flashbacks to having found her son and struggled to sleep. She said she had nothing to live for, her life was her and her son."

Dr Andrew Wade, a consultant in intensive care at the Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital, told how Helene’s CT scan highlighted her hypoxic brain injury.

He said: "On April 13 she had made no improvements or signs of recovery. After a long discussion with the family, it was decided to focus on her comfort and dignity and she passed away on April 15 with her family around her."

A post-mortem examination carried out on the body revealed the woman died from hypoxic brain injury due to multiple drug toxicity.

The coroner said that Helene had left her family and friends a suicide note which praised the support she received including from health professionals.

The assistant coroner said: "She was apologising for the pain. After what happened to James she was acutely aware that she would put her family through pain. She said ‘my journey out of this world was planned’ and it is clear it was a final goodbye to the ones she loved."

Her parents, Robert and Anne, along with sister Katherine Beauchamp attended the inquest. Her father, a retired health and safety practitioner, said: "Dr Langford has gone up in my estimation. From what you have said I have an understanding of Helene, we felt we knew Helene and it is clear that we did not, but I want to say thank you.

"What has come out of today I feel uncomfortable about and perhaps I was naive or was blocking it out but I was not aware that Helene was such a high risk. It sounds awful that I did not know. I did ask her if she was getting tablets but she said that she would not do that to me. It fills me with horror that I did not know that."

Concluding the inquest, Mrs Marsh said: "Helene’s story began on December 5 2018 - prior to this there are no real mental health problems - but on that date Helene has devastatingly come home to find her beloved only son having committed suicide. She discovered him hanged and tried to revive him but that whole experience was understandably distressing, traumatic, and utterly life shattering.

"She said the sole purpose of her life was to be James’ mother and he was not there anymore but then she flipped to talking of a future sadly without James.

"There was an element of her playing the game, telling people what they wanted to hear to allow her to ultimately do what she wanted to do. She was ultimately grieving and not depressed. The position of the ward was that they had to give her the chance to rebuild her life by discharging her.

"I am not satisfied that going to the doctors was a self-rescue. She was trying to reduce the stress for others by taking herself somewhere she would be looked after. What she did not want was her family to find her the way she found James. I think she was trying to be neat and easy."

The assistant coroner ruled that Mrs Beauchamp died as a result of suicide.

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