A 30-YEAR-OLD woman who was writing a book about her life and her struggles with mental health issues, tragically died after taking an overdose of prescribed medication.

An inquest in Accrington heard that Becky Sumner had been under the care of mental health services since she was about 17.

She was receiving cognitive analysis therapy and had been on several different medications for depression, anxiety and mania.

She had made numerous attempts on her life, which psychiatrists attributed to issues in her childhood when she was placed in foster care, which resulted in difficulties building relationships and left her with low self-esteem and confidence.

Becky, of Waterfoot, also suffered with HIV and had a two-year-old son who her sister Charlotte Donnelly said “she lived for”.

However, the child was taken from her care not long after he was born and went to live with grandparents, which Charlotte told the inquest was extremely difficult for Becky to deal with, especially during Covid when she was unable to see him.

Coroner Richard Taylor said: “Becky had a history of mental health issues, overdose and self-harm, and was admitted to Royal Blackburn Hospital on December 5 2020 after paramedics attended her home following reports she had taken an overdose of prescribed medication, propanalol (a beta blocker).”

The inquest heard how other prescribed medication was found in her system but a medical cause of death was offered as propanalol toxicity.

Psychiatrist Dr Viorica Brad, said Becky had attempted to take her own life more than 13 times over the years, which included several overdoses and an incident where she tried to jump from a building, but was saved by a stranger.

Dr Brad said following an investigation into her mental health care, it was deemed that sufficient care had been provided for Becky, who was compliant and engaged extremely well with her care co-ordinators and had “a great rapport” with her team, especially her HIV support worker.

There were some concerns over the fluctuation in her medication as this was changed a number of times before it really had a chance to take effect, but she would speak at least once a week to her care co-ordinator, over the phone or via text, preferring this to face-to-face contact.

Dr Brad said from the health trust’s point of view there was nothing more they could’ve done in terms of providing her with care and treatment, and even though the situation with Covid did not allow for face-to-face visits, they were satisfied that Becky had been engaging with the services.

However, her mood deteriorated during the Covid pandemic and it was heard Becky felt isolated in Waterfoot, where she had been living since she had her son.

She tried through social workers to be rehomed in Chorley where she had friends and some family, but due to Covid this was delayed.

Dr Brad said: “She moved from one place to another and I think where she was living at the time there was lack of support and she had no friends nearby.

“And with Covid and little contact with friends and family she struggled. She would think people were judging her and she had low self-esteem and lack of confidence, which was part of her personality, and it’s hard to change that sometimes.

“And when her son was taken away and then because of Covid, she was not able to have contact with him and that was the most important thing keeping her alive.”

It was heard that on December 4 Becky sent a text saying she ‘felt like she wanted to take all her medication’, and that she did not want to be contacted by anyone.

Sister, Charlotte said: “Covid contributed massively. Social services put her in Rossendale where she had no friends or family. She hated living there.

“On the phone she would tell you she was fine, but face to face it was a different story, and because of Covid there was no face to face.”

Mr Taylor returned a conclusion of suicide.

Charlotte added: “Becky lived for her son, and it was really difficult when he was taken away. She was going to write a book about her life and she’d done so much for mental health charities after she was stopped from jumping from a building.

“We just hope we can do something with the book now because we know she would’ve liked that.”

If you are struggling, you can call the Samaritans free on 116 123.