Family feel "failed" by mental health service after death of 14-year-old in Shrewsbury

The family of a teenage boy who died after being hit by a train near to a Shrewsbury train crossing say they feel he was failed by local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

The rail crossing
The rail crossing

Jeff Antwis had a history of high functioning Asperger’s and was known to CAMHS.

Over a period of about four months he exhibited escalating low mood and increasing levels of hopelessness. He made five suicide attempts.

His mother took him to the GP who urgently referred him to CAMHS in January 2017. Despite this, the family said they feel that CAMHS did not recognise the urgency of the situation and did not take appropriate action. An appointment was given for over seven weeks’ time, by which time Jeff had died.

The family are represented by Beth Harrison, of Lanyon Bowdler Solicitors. Ms Harrison said: “This is a tragic case involving a vulnerable child who desperately needed help. We are investigating whether with an appropriate risk assessment and subsequent action his death could have been avoided.”

Jeff’s mother, Lorraine Antwis, said: “We loved Jeff and we miss him. He was funny, talented and unique, kind and caring, and always brought sunshine and laughter with him.

“We would to thank family, friends, neighbours, teachers and community groups for their support and prayers. We would also like to thank the emergency services and the Royal Stoke University Hospital’s A&E and PICU.”

A statement from South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust said: “At the time of Jeff’s death Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services were being provided by Shropshire Community Trust. In May 2017, South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust assumed managerial control of Shropshire CAMHS Service which is now part of a wider 0-25 emotional health and wellbeing service.

“We will therefore be responding to, and taking action to address the serious areas of concern identified by the coroner at the inquest.

“The Trust would like to express sincere condolences to Jeff’s family and friends.

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