A heartbroken mum says she feels her daughter’s death could have been prevented if she had received the mental health treatment she desperately needed. .
Olivia Garvey was found ‘collapsed and unresponsive’ at the White Lodge Hotel, in Salford, last September – six months after her last involvement with mental health services.
An inquest into the 24-year-old’s death heard Greater Manchester’s mental health trust had ‘lost oversight’ of her due to staff sicknesses during the pandemic.
Olivia’s mother, Louise Garvey, told the hearing her daughter had a history of mental health issues and said she had tried desperately to help her access the right support, believing she required treatment at an inpatient facility.
After Olivia, from Eccles, cancelled an appointment in February of last year, a follow-up was never rearranged.
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Following the hearing at Bolton Coroner’s Court yesterday (June 17), Ms Garvey said she believed her daughter’s death could have prevented if she had received the right treatment.
She added: “I believe that had her mental health issues been treated seriously enough, and if she had been given the treatment she so desperately needed and deserved, she would still be alive today and out there enjoying the rest of her life.
“It’s left myself and all Olivia’s family and close friends heartbreakingly devastated. I feel I will never come to terms with our sudden and unexpected loss.”
Ms Garvey told the inquest that in recent years she had become increasingly concerned about her daughter’s deterioration from ‘a confident young woman’ to someone who was afraid to leave the house.
However, her daughter ‘did not realise’ she was in need of help and would often be resistant about seeing a doctor.
The inquest heard from Dr Aung Tint, a consultant psychiatrist who diagnosed Olivia with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in 2015.
Following a home visit in August 2019, Dr Tint said he referred Olivia to Salford’s community mental health team for assessment as he was concerned that she was not leaving her room or the house.
However, despite the pleas of her mother, Olivia was never admitted to at an inpatient facility.
The inquest heard Olivia had overdosed on several occasions, but Ms Garvey said she did not believe her daughter was trying to end her life.
In December 2019, she was taken to hospital after overdosing on medication she bought off the internet.
In February of last year, Olivia cancelled an appointment with mental health services and it was never rearranged.
She had no further contact with services before she was found ‘collapsed and unresponsive’ at the temporary hotel accommodation where she was living on September 15 of last year.
Pathologist Dr Mayuri Basnet told the inquest a post-mortem examination had given Olivia’s cause of death as ‘asphyxia due to ligature’.
Police coroner’s officer Neil McCaffrey told the hearing that detectives had found no evidence to suggest any third party involvement in Olivia’s death.
Olivia’s friend, Susan Dale, told the inquest she had spoken to her the previous evening and there appeared to be ‘no indication she was plotting or planning’ to end her life.
“I just could not believe it the following day,” she added.
The inquest heard that prior to her death, Olivia, who had an older brother, Daniel, had been looking for a flat for herself and her beloved dog, Roxy.
Trea Simpson, from Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, produced a report on the care provided to Olivia.
She told the inquest Olivia was receiving ‘standard care’ from the trust and was not deemed to have several mental health needs following an assessment.
However, Ms Simpson said she had identified three occasions – all in late 2019 – when Olivia could have been escalated to receive further treatment.
Ms Simpson told the inquest that after Olivia asked to be discharged, the service ‘lost oversight’ of her between March and September of last year.
She put this down to ‘unprecedented staff sickness’ due to Covid-19.
Ms Simpson said a number of improvements had been made following Olivia’s death, including to the trust’s appointment booking system.
Coroner Stephen Teasdale said he was ‘satisfied’ that Olivia was responsible for ending her own life.
Delivering a narrative conclusion, he said: “Olivia Garvey died as a consequence of suspension by ligature, but her intentions at the time remain unclear.”
Speaking after the hearing, Ms Garvey said she believed ‘a lot more could have been done’ to help her daughter.
“I always fought for what I know my daughter was entitled to,” said Ms Garvey.
“I begged and pleaded on my knees for them not to give up on Olivia.
“We have been failed and it has left me feeling more and more despondent and frustrated.
“Olivia should have been provided with more support from all the health care services she was under.
“She was clearly mentally unwell. She needed to be an inpatient so treatment could have been provided.”
Paying tribute to Olivia, her close friend Ashleigh said: “She was a kind-hearted and loving person.
“Olivia was always there and someone you could speak to about anything.
“We met nine years ago and had an instant connection. We have so many good memories and supported each other through thick and thin.
“She meant a lot to me.”
Paying her own tribute to Olivia, her mum described her daughter as ‘beautiful on the inside and outside’.
She revealed how she maintained a strong Catholic faith throughout her life, and was ‘devoted’ to her dog.
Ms Garvey said her daughter ‘wanted to create a better future for herself’ and had taken a hair and beauty course at Stockport College before then studying qualifications in maths and English.
Ms Garvey added: “Olivia was a good friend to everyone and had a heart of gold.
“We have so many cherished, happy memories. We had so many giggles.
“She idolised her brother and I have so many happy memories of taking both of them to Butlins and Pontins.
“Olivia loved her music, especially Bob Marley, Eminem and Miley Cyrus and was learning to play the guitar.
“She was a huge animal lover and volunteered at animal charity.
“The day my daughter left she took a huge chunk of my heart, and my life will never be the same again.”