Student nurse ‘took own life’ after writing letter saying it was ‘too late’

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A student nurse is believed to have taken her own life after warning in a letter that it was “too late” to help her.

Bronwen Grace Morgan, from Cyncoed, Cardiff, passed away on August 27 after struggling with mental health issues for more than two years.

The Cardiff University student’s problems became so severe that her parents effectively became “security guards”, preventing her from leaving the house.

She sent a letter to Cardiff and Vale University Health Board just days before her death, saying she couldn’t get the right help and warning it was “too late”.

The letter, obtained by Wales Online, reads: "The number of crises I have found myself in, and the danger I've put myself and others through as a result, has been shocking.

"Still three months later and I'm still being denied the help despite the evidence that I have clearly gotten worse since this support was taken away.

"What more will it take to be heard or listened to? I honestly believe it's going to be too late. It is too late.

"I've been telling professionals that my care plan isn't working, that I want it reviewed. But I'm being denied any say in my care and treatment."

Bronwen, who was in her second year as a mental health nurse, said she would "never forgive" mental health services for the way they left her family to cope.

She was under the care of a community mental health team (CMHT) based in Pentwyn but would frequently need crisis intervention at Hafan Y Coed mental health unit in University Hospital Llandough.

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She also needed urgent treatment in A&E at the University Hospital of Wales when she self-harmed or attempted to take her own life.

On many occasions, her family claim she would find herself being given a "blanket" care plan – and then discharged again without a tailored assessment of her needs.

As a result, her parents would become her carers and need to watch her constantly in case she harmed herself or ran away.

"My parents became my security guards. I literally had one of them watching me 24-7," added Bronwen, a former pupil of Lakeside Primary School and Cardiff High School.

"The doors and windows were all locked and the keys hidden. Things I could use to harm myself were removed. My dad slept in my bedroom against the door so I couldn't leave at night.

"I wasn't allowed to leave the house at all. My dad would sit in the car watching the door if I had an appointment. This was going on for weeks."

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She added that the relationship with her family would "never be the same again" after what they had witnessed her do.

"My dad cannot unsee the things he saw. We are all scarred for life. We needed someone to step in. We needed help. I wasn't safe and neither were my family.

"I was doing things that risked their lives too. I was a danger to be around. No-one would help us. Why?"

Bronwen said that she was desperate to be admitted to hospital for a comprehensive mental health assessment and an official diagnosis, which she claimed she never received.

"I'm fed up of hearing 'hospital heightens your risk'. How? My risks do not increase in hospital at all and they have no solid or valid evidence of this," she stated.

"In hospital everything is documented, meaning you can't get away with anything.

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"I really believe the staff just don't want the hassle and the paperwork. All they talk about is the long term. When someone is that desperate and suicidal do you really think they care about the long term?"

Bronwen claimed that she was told by her care coordinator that the police would arrest her if they were to find her in a crisis.

She added: "They think having a criminal record and writing off my future is 'in my best interests'. It's disgusting. I work hard to get better and am trying to do something with my life. I want to get better but I need help."

She concluded by stating that the mental health system in Cardiff is "shocking”, from both the crisis team who work out of Hafan Y Coed and her CMHT in Pentwyn.

"They act like they know me and know what's best for me. They don't at all. What happened to patient voice? I'm ignored and not listened to. I'm treated like dirt. I'm left to feel unwanted. Staff are rude and blunt with me. They genuinely don't care."

Bronwen's devastated parents Haydn and Jayne Morgan said their daughter was an incredibly caring person who they will miss terribly.

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She was highly regarded during her student placements at a community mental health team in Chepstow, as well as at the University Hospital Llandough.

Haydn said: "She would always think of other people before herself in every way. She was a very beautiful person both inside and out."

They said that Bronwen started to become "withdrawn and quite lethargic" in January 2018 following the death of a person close to the family on Christmas Day.

Haydn added: "She didn't seem as enthusiastic to do things as she once was. Her motivation dipped too. But she kept trying and kept trying – she battled right until the end."

Reflecting on her care, the couple said they felt failed by those who were meant to look after their daughter in her time of need.

"We trusted their advice and knowledge but we feel like these past few months we were really desperately let down," Haydn added.

"Her GP became very frustrated with [the community mental health team]. They kept referring and referring her and nothing seemed to be done.

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"It must be stated that her GP and the police were nothing but helpful, supportive, compassionate, and kind to Bronwen."

They said that the community psychiatric nurse (CPN) being taken away from her led to a significant deterioration in her mental health.

Mum Jayne said: "They said she wasn't using [her nurse] effectively enough but surely only Bronwen can decide whether it's effective or not. She relied on her CPN every day.

"Because she was a high-functioning person with mental health problems she was very knowledgeable and would research what she thought she had. I think she challenged the professionals a lot."

Haydn highlighted one story where the team at Hafan Y Coed chose not to look after his daughter despite her being a danger to herself.

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He said: "One time she was in a real crisis and we went down to University Hospital Llandough. We would be praying and crying for her to be admitted because we couldn't keep her safe at home. She was putting herself in really dangerous situations.

"They turned around to us and said: 'Take her home for three days. If you can keep her safe for those three days then we'll admit her to hospital for three days'. We couldn't believe what we were hearing."

Haydn said he believes the entire mental health system in Cardiff and Vale University Health Board needs to change before other families suffer the same fate.

"If someone is given a treatment for cancer and it's not working you would take a step back and try something different. But they persisted with the same care plans.

"We feel like we should not have listened to the professionals. We were never given a say, she was never given a say. There was no shared decision-making.

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"They always treated her diagnostic symptoms rather than her as an individual and how she presented."

Jayne, who with Haydn hopes to set up a trust in her daughter's honour, added: "She always said they were 'fobbing her off' again. She felt a burden. I don't think she ever felt that anybody cared about her."

Bronwen leaves behind her parents as well as her younger sisters Tesni, 24 and Cerys, 21.

Tesni wrote on social media: "We are heartbroken to say that our beautiful Bronwen sadly passed away on Thursday, after fighting so very hard to battle with her mental health.

"For those of you who knew Bron, you’ll know she was the most beautiful, thoughtful, inspiring and loving person. We as a family are broken.

"We would like to say thank you to everyone who has sent their love and condolences, it is so warming to see how many lives Bronwen touched and how loved she was.

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"Bronny, we will forever love you, thank you for being the greatest sister, daughter and friend."

A South Wales Police spokeswoman said: "South Wales Police is investigating the death of a 26-year-old woman who was taken ill at a hotel on Pentwyn Road, Cardiff, on Thursday, August 27."

A spokeswoman for Cardiff and Vale University Health Board added: "Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Bronwen at this incredibly sad time.

"We are in contact with the family and an investigation is ongoing so we are unable to comment further at this stage.”

For confidential support call the Samaritans in the UK free on 116 123 or visit a local Samaritans branch. The NHS offers help and advice through its 111 service.

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