Natasha Abrahart was just 20 years old when she took her own life at University. Now her parents are fighting to protect other young people at risk of harm due to mental ill-health.
Natasha was a physics student at the University of Bristol. She suffered from social anxiety, a mental health condition characterised by a fear of perceived personal failure and negative judgement by others.
In the months leading up to her death, Natasha made various people aware that she was at risk of harm. She had attempted suicide three times before. She told staff at the University, her GP and the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Trust that she had acted on suicidal thoughts.
On 30 April 2018, Natasha was expected to take part in a group presentation in a large lecture hall, in front of 43 fellow students and two academic markers. But instead of attending that session, Natasha took her own life.
Natasha’s death is a tragedy and, worryingly, not an isolated case. She is one of a dozen students at the University of Bristol to die in this way in the last three years. Suicide rates are rising among young people, sparking concerns about adolescent mental health.
Natasha’s parents – Robert and Margaret – wanted to find out the full circumstances of their daughter’s death at an inquest. In particular, they wanted to know whether anything could have been done differently, to make sure other families don’t have to suffer the same loss.
But inquests are complex, often technical and emotionally-charged, which is why it’s best to get specialist legal advice and representation.
At CrowdJustice, we believe that families who have lost a loved one should be able to get answers about the circumstances surrounding their death. Our team helped Robert and Margaret to tell Natasha’s story and raise £25,000 from 500+ donations to cover legal fees.
At the inquest
Natasha’s inquest was held in May 2019. The coroner concluded that there had been “unacceptable delay” in her treatment, as she had to wait a month between mental health worker visits. The coroner also ruled that there had been a “gross failure” by the NHS Trust to provide adequate care.
Natasha’s parents hope that her legacy will be swift improvements in mental health care for young people. They said:
“This journey would not have been possible without the help and encouragement of everybody who has supported us: friends and family, our brilliant legal team, the charity INQUEST, and especially the 588 financial backers who contributed to our crowdfunding campaign.”
Robert and Margaret feature in the BBC documentary 'Dying for a Degree', sharing their experience seeking answers for their daughter.
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