Crisis team has to help drunk people in need

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The death of a man who had physical and mental health problems has led a Hertfordshire Crisis Assessment and Treatment Team (CAT) to change its policy to no longer refusie to visit intoxicated people in need, an inquest heard.

Tony Frost was found dead in his Hemel Hempstead home on April 9, just two days after his mother made desperate calls to a mental health helpline and a doctor asking for someone to help him because he was having suicidal thoughts.

His mother told the inquest, held on Wednesday, October 24: “He said he won’t be around for much longer, that’s why I called the doctor.”

Tony was in distress during the Easter Bank Holiday weekend and when an out-of-hours GP asked the crisis team to visit it wouldn’t go until the Tuesday because he had been drinking.

The 46-year-old, from St Agnells Lane, had psoriasis, back problems, agoraphobia, depression, he self-harmed, had alcohol problems and was dependent on pain killers.

The community mental health team (CMHT) he was referred to couldn’t start treatment until his substance misuse was under a certain level of control but he didn’t want help from DrugLink for it.

The CMHT had a meeting about Tony on April 3 and decided to arrange an assessment in the next week or two.

On the Saturday before his death, Tony cut his arm with a dagger and the next evening he had a heart-to-heart with his wife, who agreed to give their marriage another go.

She woke up in the early hours of the next morning and found him dead in bed. He had taken lethal amounts of tramadol and dihydrocodeine and left a note in red marker on the pantry wall saying: “Sorry I failed you, I did love you, you know.”

Hertfordshire Partnership Trust agreed to send an action plan to the coroner and Tony’s family detailing changes that will be made to the service as a result of an enquiry into his death.

Hertfordshire coroner Edward Thomas recorded that he killed himself under extreme pressure from health issues.