THE devastated family of a successful former jockey who died have spoken out in the hope of improving mental health services.
Dean Crossman, 51, was described as talented, driven and charismatic by his family during an inquest into his death.
The equine dentist was found dead at his home in Stockton in June 2018, less than three hours after a mental health crisis team said he was not considered an immediate suicide risk.
Read more: Former County Durham jockey found dead at home hears inquest
Jo Wharton, assistant coroner for Teesside, concluded he died by suicide and is writing to Tees Valley CCG and NHS England about concerns raised by the Emergency Duty Team (EDT) about issues around delays in getting an assessment under the Mental Health Act.
The inquest also heard that a serious incident investigation had been carried out following Mr Crossman’s death, with discussions between the agencies involved, including Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys (TEWV) NHS Foundation Trust and the EDT, with new protocols put in place.
Tony Scorer, Mr Crossman’s uncle, said: “It’s almost impossible to find the words to describe the hurt and pain our family feel following Dean’s death. He was loved by all his family and there’s not a day goes by that we don’t miss him and think about him.
“Dean had struggled with mental illness and we hoped that he would be able to receive the care we thought he desperately needed.
“What happened to Dean is something that will stay with us all forever and I’m not sure if it’s something we’ll ever get over.
“We would do anything not to be in this position and have Dean back in our lives but we know that’s not possible. The inquest and reliving what happened to Dean has been particularly distressing but we take some small comfort from at least now having answers as to why Dean died.
“However, we remain concerned that there are other families who have lost loved ones. By speaking out we hope that we can help improve mental health services so other families don’t have to suffer like we are.”
Megan Walker, the specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Mr Crossman’s family, said after the hearing: “Nearly three years on Dean’s family remain devastated by his death and the circumstances surrounding it. Understandably they’ve had a number of concerns about the events surrounding Dean’s death and whether more could have been done to help him.
“Not knowing all of the facts about what happened to Dean has made trying to grieve for him all the harder. While nothing can make up for the hurt and pain the family are going through, the inquest has been a major milestone in being able to provide Dean’s loved ones with the vital answers they deserve.
“Sadly the inquest has found areas of concern in the care Dean received. We now urge the agencies involved to learn lessons to improve care for others.
“We continue to hear worrying first-hand accounts from families whose loved ones have died under the care of the trust. We continue to support these families at the upsetting time.
“People under the care of mental health services are some of society’s most vulnerable and it’s vital that the highest standards of patient safety are maintained at all times.”
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