A LACK of appropriate support was a factor in the death of a York man who took his own life, an inquest has heard.

Gavin Bullock, 39, hanged himself at his home last September 21, following a series of mental health incidents.

He had a history of schizophrenia, and was undergoing treatment, having recently spent time in West Park Hospital in Darlington.

The inquest heard he appeared to be responding well to medication and had engaged to some extent with care workers, and was discharged to live in shared supported accommodation in New Lane, Huntington.

Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust said they did not believe there were any “new factors” to cause concern or suggest Mr Bullock was at risk of harming himself or others, but there were underlying factors which left him at increased risk.

Mr Bullock had been prescribed anti-psychotic drugs, but also had a history of illegal drug use, but toxicology reports showed none in his system at the time of his death.

Peter Goodall, one of Mr Bullock’s support workers for about five years, said: “He didn’t like taking drugs, he didn’t want to be seen as a person who took drugs. He said that drugs worked better than any anti-psychotic medication in the time I knew him, and he wanted to protect his family from knowing about all that.”

Mr Bullock’s family criticised the shared supported housing he was placed into but the inquest heard it was the only accommodation available to him in York.

Mr Goodall said: “It’s quite well known there’s a distinct lack of housing for people like Gavin with complex mental health needs in York, due to closing of other places.“I think New Lane was really the only option available at that time and a lot of work was involved trying to achieve that as well.”

The inquest heard Mr Bullock left a note for his family, which expressed his affection for them but said he “can’t keep going back into hospital, it is a terrible place”.

John Broadbridge, assistant coroner, told Dr Andrew Elmslie, consultant psychiatrist with TEWV, Mr Bullock’s mother did not feel supported living at the shared accommodation was the right place for him.

Dr Elmslie said: “I would certainly agree that the accommodation was the best accommodation that was available to use, but perhaps didn’t have the level of support and flexibility that was able to meet his needs on discharge from hospital.”

Mr Broadbridge concluded Mr Bullock committed suicide. “It seems common ground that the accommodation was not appropriate for Mr Bullock’s needs. If he felt that then that could have been the last straw, because in his words he said ‘I can’t bear to go on’. The clear evidence, however, is that there was little in fact no alternative and hospital was not an option.”

*Samaritans are on 116 123. The NHS 24/7 crisis service in York is on 01904 526582. If somebody is at serious risk of harm you should call 999. York Mind offers support on 01904 643364.