Bristol student was neglected by a mental health trust in the lead-up to her suicide

The trust failed to implement a management plan for Natasha Abrahart, that could have saved her life


The inquest in to the death of Natasha Abrahart, 20, has concluded that the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (AWP) failed in providing adequate care. Abrahart was the 10th out of 12 known or suspected suicides at the university since 2016.

Senior Avon coroner, Maria Voisin, has criticised the AWP for not implementing a potentially life-saving management plan for Abrahart, who struggled with severe social anxiety and self-harm.

Abrahart's parents blame the university for contributing to their daughter's death and intend to pursue legal action. During the inquest, her parents said that the university were in denial and "attempted to shut down, block and narrow any meaningful examination of its actions".

The Physics student was found dead in her flat on Monday 30th April 2018, half an hour after she had been expected to participate in a "laboratory conference" to approximately 50 staff and students.

Abrahart was referred to the AWP by a university GP. According to the Coroner, a management plan should have been implemented by the AWP by the end of March 2018.

The coroner did not comment on the university's care during the inquest, but academic staff had known about Abrahart's mental health since October 2017. Despite this, no system was put in place to help her.

In a statement given outside the court, Abrahart's parents said: "There are absolutely vital lessons for everybody – lessons that if they'd been learned earlier may have saved out daughter's life".

Professor Sarah Purdy, pro-vice-chancellor for student experience commented: "staff in the school, along with colleagues from student services, tried very hard to help Natasha". The university said it had discussed options to ease the process of the laboratory conference, such as not doing it on stage.

The director of nursing at the AWP, Julie Kerry, said: "we fully accept the findings of the coroner and recognise that we did not act in accordance to best practice in all of the care provided to Natasha". The AWP are now taking steps to minimise the risk of failures in the future.