A MOTHER took her own life amid fears she would have to return to a mental health ward.

Heather French died at her home in Victoria Road, Portslade, on October 15 last year.

Her 17-year-old son Luke had returned from college to find her hanging and ran to a nearby car dealership for help.

Two men from the Volkswagen dealer in Victoria Road helped Luke try to resuscitate the 58-year-old and emergency services were called to the scene, but she was found to be dead.

An inquest into her death at Brighton Coroner’s Court on Wednesday heard that Heather, a trained psychotherapist, had suffered with depression and had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder late in life.

Her sister Sue John said Heather had been discharged from Mill View Hospital, Hove, in March last year and was “terrified” of being readmitted.

She said: “The one thing that came across to me was a desperation of not being able to control her illness. I have no doubt she took her own life during a period of depression.”

Heather was prescribed antidepressants and an anti-psychotic drug and initially seemed to be making a good recovery but she chose to stop taking one of her medications for a period and her mental health deteriorated last summer following a relationship break-up.

Sue said: “I’m unclear as to whether the interruption of her medication was a factor in her suicidal ideation. I don’t believe it was a long term plan as she had seemed to be functioning well.”

Daniel Young, a community psychiatric nurse with the Brighton and Hove Assesment and Treatment Service, supported Heather and had referred her to the mental health crisis team in September but they found she did not meet their criteria for treatment at that time.

At their meeting on October 10, Heather told Mr Young she had taken an overdose three days earlier which had made her sick.

He said: “She had restarted taking the Venlafaxine anti-depressant tablets and had said they were making her dizzy, but she had taken these drugs in the past without any problems.

“Another referral to the crisis team could have been made at that point, but it would have been against Heather’s wishes as she saw it as another step towards a further admission to hospital.”

The court heard Heather’s family were not informed about her overdose, which occurred a week before her death.

Assistant coroner Catharine Palmer said: “Daniel Young went the extra mile in seeing Heather every week and he faced a dilemma of whether to involve the crisis team or continue on the path of watch and wait.

“We cannot see whether things would have been any different. Heather was extremely fearful of hospitals and it could have pushed her over the edge.

"A less rigid approach to types of treatment will be in place for the future as the Sussex NHS Partnership Trust has taken action to make improvements.”

The coroner recorded a conclusion of suicide.

In a statement, Heather’s family said: “Heather was a bright, creative and loving woman.

"We are saddened that her denial of her mood seems to have been taken at face value and does not seem to have been fully explored with her or sufficiently communicated between the relevant mental health teams, or to her family during the last week of her life.”