Bronwen Morgan, 26, from Cyncoed, Cardiff, took her own life at the age of 26, having told the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board that her cries were help were being ignored
Image: Tesni Morgan)
The family of a young woman with mental health struggles believe she’d still be alive if her care wasn’t removed.
Bronwen Morgan, who is described by her family as a “bright and beautiful” young woman who would light up every room she entered, began to struggle with her mental health while she was at university.
The eldest of three sisters, she developed an eating disorder and suffered with bouts of deep depression and anxiety, Wales Online reported.
Her family says that lockdowns during the pandemic, coupled with a sudden reduction in the psychiatric support she was receiving, meant that she found herself feeling hopeless and isolated.
In a last-ditch attempt to get the care she felt she needed, the 26-year-old wrote a letter to Cardiff and Vale University Health Board describing how her desperate cries for help were being ignored.
“I am writing to you out of desperation and torture. I am extremely disappointed in my care, especially over the last month,” she wrote.
“I feel like my voice has not been listened to and services are ignoring my family’s cries for help. We are desperate.
“I don’t know how much clearer we can make it, how much louder we can shout it, how many more breakdowns and tears it will take. It’s going to be too late.
“We have been massively, massively let down. Our lives will never be the same again.”
In what has now proved to be a haunting letter, Bronwen said she really began to struggle when her community psychiatric nurse (CPN) was taken away from her without warning.
“How was doing this a good idea and in my best interests?” she wrote in the letter.
“I need the stability and consistency of having the same person to contact. I’ve explained why I need one, how it benefits me and I’ve done this calmly and rationally.
“Still I get ‘no’ as a response with no real reason other than they believe I wasn’t using it effectively enough.”
Bronwen, from Cyncoed, Cardiff, said she faced multiple crises and tried to end her life several times during the three months she was without a CPN.
“I will never forgive services for they way they left us as a family to cope. It’s all a bit of a blur to me but my family will never be the same again,” she continued.
“My dad cannot unsee the things he saw. We are all scarred for life.
“My parents became my security guards. I literally had one of them looking after me 24/7. The doors 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.”
Keen skier Bronwen, a former pupil of Lakeside Primary School and Cardiff High School, said she was desperate to be admitted to hospital so it could reduce the burden on her family.
She also wanted NHS staff to document her behaviour.
However, mental health teams in Cardiff did not listen to her or the wishes of her family, Bronwen claimed.
She also said that medical staff told her that if she were to find herself in a crisis in the future, the police would arrest her.
This decision, her family claims, was the final straw.
“Of course there are a handful of staff who are amazing and deserve more recognition, as do South Wales Police,” she added.
“Unfortunately in the mental health system people like this are very rare to come across.”
Shortly after writing the distressing letter, Bronwen was found unresponsive at a hotel in Pentwyn Road, Cardiff, and died on Thursday, August 27, 2020.
A full inquest will be held into her death later this year.
Her heartbroken family claims that if they had been given more of a say in her care she could still be alive today.
They said Bronwen experienced “a devastating injustice in her care” and was treated with a “blanket approach” which had little effect on improving her mental health.
“Bron was unaware of how much she was loved by so many people and the positive impact she made on so many people’s lives,” they said in a statement.
“The outpouring of love and support following her loss was overwhelming and took us all by surprise. We just wish she knew how special and loved she was.”
In response to the letter, a spokeswoman from Cardiff and Vale UHB said: “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Bronwen at this incredibly sad time.
“An investigation report has been shared with the family and we reiterate the offer for a further meeting to discuss the findings.”
Since the tragedy, Bronwen’s family have set up Bronwen’s Wish, a charity which aims to provide “safe spaces” for young people experiencing challenges with their mental health.
Their first goal is to create a wellbeing “pod” on the grounds of Lakeside Primary School – designs of which have already been submitted by student architects at Wales School of Architecture and Swansea School of Architecture. The project has even provoked lectures on mental health and wellbeing within both universities.
Bronwen’s dad, Haydn Morgan, said: “She would always think of other people before herself in every way. She was a very beautiful person both inside and out.”
For information on Bronwen’s Wish and how to take part in any of the charity’s events please go here.
For confidential support the Samaritans can be contacted for free around the clock 365 days a year on 116 123.