Family say suicide dad was ‘let down’

Xristos Tsimboukas
Xristos Tsimboukas
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The family of a man who committed suicide after breaking up with his girlfriend say they have been ‘let down’ by health authorities.

Xristos Tsimboukas, 26, who has been described as a ‘loving father’ was found dead at his home on Hastings Road in Farington, Leyland, just 10 days after admitting himself to Chorley and South Ribble District Hospital for having suicidal thoughts.

An inquest into his death at Preston Coroners Court heard how Mr Tsimboukas, dad to six-year-old Joshua, had attempted to take his own life twice after breaking up with his girlfriend.

Today, his brother Nikos, 24, said Xristos was ‘let down’ when trying to get help.

He said: “My brother went to get help. He had taken an overdose of tablets and he then went to kill himself in his car.

“The first time he tried it was a red flag, the second time was another red flag. He was crying, begging for help and they turned him away.”

Xristos, a receptionist at Premier Inn in Chorley, had admitted himself to Chorley Hospital on Sunday, November 15 reporting to have suicidal thoughts following his split from his girlfriend two months before. He was then seen by the mental health liaison team.

They assessed him, deemed he was ‘not high risk’, and referred him to the Single Point of Access team to be seen in five to seven days, and also asked him to make an appointment with his GP.

Sandrea Strachan, deputy manager for the mental health liaison team for central Lancashire, said: “He described wanting to continue work and having a supportive network of friends, family and colleagues and he was willing to engage with services. He was showing positive signs for the future.”

The inquest heard how attempts were made to call Xristos on Monday and Tuesday, but there was no answer. It is the team’s policy not to leave voicemail messages for confidentiality reasons. A contact letter was then sent out on Wednesday. Xristos’s GP then called the team to say Xristos had not heard anything from them, and gave them permission to leave a voicemail message.

They called and left a message on Thursday, and was eventually reached on Friday, November 23.

Mary Farnworth, duty worker with the Single Point of Access for mental health, said: “He was an extremely pleasant young man on the phone. He told me about how he had taken some tables two or three weeks before. He told me it was about 40 tablets, and afterwards he felt stupid.

“If I had any doubts whatsoever I would have rang the crisis team, which I have done on many occasions. I was to see him the following Thursday with a view to him receiving counselling.

“I feel assured the decision I made was the only one I could have made on that day.”

Mr Tsimboukas was discovered by his brother at home on November 25. The cause of death was confirmed as hanging.

Recording a verdict of suicide, Deputy coroner Simon Jones said: “I recognise that everyone here is looking at this with the benefit of hindsight.

“I accept the evidence that has been given in terms of decisions that have been taken at that time.

“There was an assessment in hospital face to face and a further assessment over the telephone.

“The professionals were of the opinion he was not showing any indications at that stage of intending to end his own life.”

Nikos said: “It was eight days before they got in touch. There is not enough being done for people like my brother.

“He was a really good dad and would have done anything for anyone, regardless of his own problems.

“I just want other people to be aware of what depression can do to you. A lot of young people are self harming, doing drugs and taking their own lives.

“There has got to be more out there for people who are not coping.”

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals said they did not wish to comment.