A MOTHER has paid tribute to her ‘lovely, warm and clever’ teenage daughter who took her own life last year.
Elizabeth Emily Borman (15) ended her life on 5 May 2022 while suffering ‘low mood, anxiety and depression’, Relief Coroner Advocate Cyril Whelan concluded during an inquest on Wednesday 27 September.
He described the loss of the ‘deeply troubled’ teenager as ‘unspeakably sad’.
The inquest heard that an external report had offered ‘high praise’ to Jersey professionals for their actions while trying to help Elizabeth in an ‘excruciating set of circumstances’, but also made a number of recommendations.
The report – which was authored by Tim Richardson, the head of operations for Children and Young People’s Mental Health in West Yorkshire – found a ‘number of examples of best practice’.
Advocate Whelan told the inquest that the report had been produced to offer an ‘independent overview’ into the care Elizabeth received in the months leading up to her death, explaining that ‘it is healthy and right to look outside the Island for professional expertise’ to ‘put everything under the microscope’.
The 21-page report commended the ‘positive and respectful’ engagements of mental-health professionals with Elizabeth and her family, and ‘appropriate and proportional’ decision making on the night of the teenager’s death.
There was particular praise for the emergency services who searched for Elizabeth on the night she died and made extensive attempts to revive her.
The report found that, in the months leading up to her death, mental-health services ‘were actively engaged with [Elizabeth’s] family’ and ‘family needs were considered within good timescales’.
It was noted that Elizabeth had been on a waiting list for psychological therapy at the time, with her first appointment due to take place the day she died.
However, Mr Richardson concluded that this was ‘not a contributory factor in her death’.
Although the report found nothing ‘that could be considered a root cause of Elizabeth’s death’, Mr Richardson offered several recommendations for CAMHS.
He called for a review of the organisation’s on-call system and ‘working relationships with other partners’.
During his ‘deep dive’ into local services, Mr Richardson also noted a number of comments from interviewees involved with CAMHS which expressed concerns about inter-agency workings.
This reflects one of the key findings of the Children and Young People’s Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Strategy 2022-2025, which found that young people often felt like they were being ‘bounced around’ mental-health services and resented having to tell their stories multiple times to professionals from different agencies.
Mr Richardson recommended ‘closer working relationships through standard operating procedure’ for the wider mental-health offering for children and young people in the Island.
The conclusion of the independent report noted that there was already ‘work in progress’ to improve Jersey’s CAMHS but the recommended systemic review was ‘intended to complement existing work’.
At the end of the inquest, Elizabeth’s mother, Natalia Borman, paid tribute to her daughter as a ‘lovely girl’ who was ‘very warm’ and ‘clever’ with a ‘great sense of humour’. ‘I loved her very much,’ she told the inquest. ‘I was trying to do everything to help her.’
In May this year, Ms Borman organised ‘Walks of Hope’ in both Jersey and Guernsey to mark one year since her daughter’s death and raise awareness of growing mental-health issues in young people.
The walks raised money for Mind Jersey’s Youthful Minds project and the Youth Commission in Guernsey.
Youth Enquiry Service – YES can support any young person under the age of 25 and staff are available for them to talk to. Call 0800 7350 010 or drop to Eagle House from Monday to Friday 14:00-18:00, or Saturday 11:00-16:00.
Kooth – an online mental wellbeing community for young people at www.kooth.com.
Children and Families Hub – the hub is open at Liberte House from Monday to Thursday 08:30 to 17:00, and Fridays between 08:30 and 16:30. They can be reached on the phone (01534 519000) or via email at email@example.com.
Listening Lounge – The counselling service is open seven days a week from 10:00 to 22:00. People can call 01534 866793 or walk in.
Anyone who requires urgent mental health support and help can call Adult Mental Health 24-hour crisis line: 01534 445290.