World Suicide Prevention Day: Family speak out after mother refused mental health support took her own life

·3-min read
Victoria Tsopurashvili (left) with her daughter Angie   (handout)
Victoria Tsopurashvili (left) with her daughter Angie (handout)

The grieving family of a mother who took her own life after mental health staff decided she “was not a suitable candidate for treatment” have spoken out to back a major suicide prevention campaign.

Victoria Tsopurashvili, 52, sought medical advice in November 2020 after developing mental health problems including paranoia and suicidal thoughts, and was initially sent to Accident and Emergency.

The mother-of-two was referred to the Waltham Forest Early Intervention in Psychosis Service (WFEIPS) but was told she was not suitable for treatment, and she was then not offered help by other mental health services.

In April 2021, five months after first reaching out for help, Ms Tsopurashvili was found hanging at her home in Leyton, east London and suffered irreversible brain damage.

Her husband Rompert Aroutinov, 59, and children David, 34, and Angie, 27, have now decided to speak out about her death ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day on Saturday.

“Anyone can be affected by mental illness and it’s vital that people receive the care they need and they know that support is out there”, said Angie.

“We continue to have concerns over Mum’s death and whether more could have been done to help her.  We just hope that by speaking out our family can help others before it’s too late.”

She said her mother had a “positive energy” and an ability to make others smile, but “that changed when she started feeling down”.

“To us it looked she was getting worse and we wanted to get her help so she could become more like the mum I knew. It feels like that didn’t happen”, she said.

“The decision to withdraw Mum’s life support is the hardest thing we’ll ever have to do and is something that I don’t think we’ll get over.

“What’s happened has turned our family upside down. Things will never be the same and my Dad is broken. Losing her in the way we did has only added to the grief and pain we continue to feel.

“Mum was the most positive person I knew. She was always smiling, always saw the best in people and went out of her way to help others. All she wanted for our family was happiness and health. That’s why we donated her organs so families can have what Mum wanted for us.”

Following an inquest into the death, coroner Graeme Irvine issued a Prevention of Future Deaths report raising concerns about the treatment Ms Tsopurashvili received from North East London NHS Foundation Trust.

The hearing was told Ms Tsopurashvili, who worked as a chef, started experiencing anxiety, unhappiness and difficulty sleeping towards the end of 2018 and was prescribed anti-depressants.

She was advised by a nurse practitioner on November 19, 2020, to attend hospital, leading to the urgent referral to WFEIPS.

The coroner found WFEIPS decided Victoria “was not a suitable candidate for treatment”, and “in hindsight, it appears that was a poor decision”.

Dami Oloyede, a medical negligence expert with law firm Irwin Mitchell which is supporting the family, said they “remain devastated by what happened” but are “determined for as many lessons as possible to be learned”.

“While the inquest identified concerning areas in Victoria’s care it’s vital that people with mental health issues and their families continue to seek help. World Suicide Prevention Day is an important reminder that people need not suffer alone and support is out there.

“We continue to support Victoria’s family in their campaign so others don’t have to suffer the heartache her family has.”

North East London NHS Foundation Trust has been contacted for comment.

:: Anyone seeking help can call Samaritans free on 116 123 or visit Samaritans.org