The devoted dad, who took his own life, hadn’t been seen face to face by a doctor for months despite having a long history of mental health difficulties. Instead placed on a "lengthy" waiting list, his family have claimed.
Frazer Wilkie, 31, who lived in Cwmbran after moving to Wales from Angus in Scotland in his mid-20s to be with his older sister, took his own life on January 20 this year, an inquest at Newport Coroners’ Court heard. Now His GP practice has said they will be more proactive about seeing patients suffering from mental health problems face to face.
Frazer’s sister Claire grew concerned for her brother’s welfare and found him dead at his home in Cwmbran surrounded by multiple notes written to his young daughter including telling her how much he loved her and that his death wasn’t her fault.
A post-mortem examination carried out by Dr Majid Rashid on January 25 revealed that Frazer, a call centre worker for Lloyds Bank, had died from asphyxia from hanging contributed to by his depression, WalesOnline reports.
In a statement read out at Frazer’s inquest hearing his GP at the Rogerstone Practice told of how a conversation had occurred between a doctor at the practice and Frazer taking his own life as early as May 2021 but the practice said in a statement that Frazer had “never disclosed suicidal plans or suicidal ideation” during telephone conversations.
The practice said it had “learned about the referral pathway and that they should see mental health patients face-to-face despite how busy a day list is”, adding: “We will be more proactive to see mental health patients in face-to-face settings.”
The surgery had referred Frazer to the Primary Care Mental Health Support Service (PCMHSS) under the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board in the weeks before his death. However, the inquest heard how patients take a lead on their own care through that pathway and Frazer opted to speak to a mental health nurse over the phone rather than in person.
The inquest heard from nurse Helen Cummings-O’Brien who took on Frazer’s case the day before he died. She said when she phoned him on January 19 she found him to be “chirpy”. “His first words to me were that he was feeling pretty good and he spoke about what he had achieved,” she told assistant coroner for Gwent James Gormley. “He displayed full insight. He admitted to [suicidal] thoughts and I had no reason to disbelieve that he wouldn’t act. We moved on a lot because of how he told me he was doing.”
Mr Gormley formally recorded Frazer's death as suicide, saying: "He left a series of handwritten notes expressing his intention to take his own life."
Frazer’s younger sister Jennifer Wilkie, who has alongside her family worked with Papyrus – a charity working to deter young people from taking their own lives – to tell Frazer’s story to help others struggling, told Wales Online: “He approached his GP many times but it didn’t work in any way whatsoever.
"The GP and mental health services never saw Frazer face-to-face. It was all done over the phone. He was placed on waiting list after waiting list which were just too long for him to wait on. He was also directed to online resources rather than direct support."
"Frazer was a very loving, kind, funny, and gentle man with a sensitive soul. He was devoted to his young daughter who is very like him in looks and personality and it’s absolutely heartbreaking thinking we will never see him or hear his voice again.
"He was a loving and doting father and his daughter idolised him. However, over time, Frazer’s family situation became very difficult and he often shared with the family the negative impact this was having on his mental health.
“Despite all the help Frazer sought out Frazer continued to struggle and found much of the advice from professionals to be ineffective. I feel it is important to raise awareness of Papyrus as before my brother’s death I had not heard of it and the amazing work it does."
A spokesman for Aneurin Bevan University Health Board said: “Our deepest thoughts are with Mr Wilkie’s family at this very difficult time. The health board conducted a review into the care Mr Wilkie received and the findings have been shared openly with his family and with the coroner for Gwent.
"Since the inquest we have met with Mr Wilkie’s family to discuss his care and to offer support following their loss. We want anyone experiencing mental health struggles to be able to access the help they need as soon as possible and so we would urge anyone in need of urgent support to call our free 24/7 111 service. Press option two service to speak with our specially-trained mental wellbeing practitioners.”
*If you're struggling and need to talk, the Samaritans operate a free helpline open 24/7 on 116 123. Alternatively, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their site to find your local branch