A CHARITY says it has been providing improved suicide awareness and risk assessment training to staff at a York hostel since a resident took her own life.

Changing Lives issued a statement yesterday after an inquest jury concluded that the death of Sam Westbury, 47, at Robinson Court, Walmgate, was suicide.

The inquest in Harrogate had been told that the woman rang friends on November 18, 2018, to say she had taken tablets, and they had rung the hostel to raise their concerns.

Staff carried out checks on Sam in her room but she said was OK, and further checks found she was asleep. However, she was found unresponsive the following afternoon and attempts at CPR were unsuccessful. Tests concluded she had died of an opiate overdose and notes were found in the room left by Sam.

A spokesperson for Changing Lives said afterwards that its thoughts and sympathies were with Sam’s family and friends.

They said the charity, whose staff were ‘dedicated and caring,’ dealt with some of the most vulnerable people in society and, sadly, a small number died each year in circumstances arising from their problems.

“It was a condition of her probation that Samantha lived in Robinson Court, which provides accommodation and support for single homeless or vulnerable women, including those released from prison, to help them into independent living,” they said.

“The accommodation should not be confused with secure residential units or supported care facilities where statutory health, social and personal care is provided.

“There are no medical facilities at accommodation units such as Robinson Court. Individuals have more freedoms, and fewer checks are placed on them during their time there.

“As part of our review and improvement of our service arising in the light of Samantha`s death, improved suicide awareness training is now included in our core training programme, in addition to enhanced risk assessment training in place for all colleagues at Robinson Court.” They added that a new case note audit tool had also improved record keeping.

l To contact The Samaritans, phone 116 123 from any phone for free 24/7.