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A MOTHER who hung herself hours after calling two hospitals for mental health support was found by her nine-year-old son and his friend, an inquest heard.

Georgia May Aitken, of Paynesdown Road, Thatcham, had struggled with anxiety and depression for a number of years before she died by suicide in June 2020.

Despite an improvement in her mental health, Reading Coroner’s Court heard how Ms Aitken told a medical professional that her wellbeing had got "worse" the day before she hung herself.

The following morning, on Saturday, June 13, she called Thornford Park Hospital and Prospect Park Hospital in calls which lasted 35 seconds and one minute respectively.

After going for a walk she had gone upstairs to bed to listen to music.

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Here, the 27-year-old mother-of-three had sent pictures of her and her partner Benjamin Small to friends and family just thirty minutes before she was found.

At around 4pm, she was discovered by her nine-year-old son and his friend who ‘screamed’ when they came across her.

Reading Chronicle: Georgia May Aitken. Image via FacebookGeorgia May Aitken. Image via Facebook

She was rushed to Royal Berkshire Hospital where her condition improved slightly.

However, she experienced major organ failure and “severe brain injuries” and was unable to recover.

She died on June 19, 2020.

Coroner Alan Blake said: “I find that this was suicide.

“Georgia May had a history of depression and it is likely from her communications there was a significant deterioration in her mood on the 13th of June.

“I find that Georgia May was not intending to be found in ‘cry for help’. This was a deliberate act to end her life.”

What happened?

The court first heard evidence from Benjamin Small, Georgia’s partner.

He said his partner had drunk a bottle of wine on the night of June 12 and the couple had gone to get some more alcohol the following morning.

Returning home, she had a glass of wine and told Benjamin that he ‘didn’t know what she was going through’.

She told him that she had called a mental health crisis team that morning but they had told her that she would have to wait until Monday for an appointment.

By 3pm, Georgia had decided to go upstairs to listen to music and could be heard “laughing and singing”, according to Mr Small.

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His son and his son’s friend had asked Mr Small about dinner and he told them to go upstairs to ask Georgia about getting fish and chips.

In a statement, Mr Small said: “I then heard screaming from upstairs. When I got there I saw Georgia hanging.”

He removed the material from around her neck before starting CPR on his partner and telling his son to call 999.

Reading Chronicle: Georgia May AitkenGeorgia May Aitken

Police then arrived and performed CPR, managing to get a pulse from Georgia.

PC Herrington, who gave a statement following the incident, said Benjamin Small was “visibly distressed” and “shaking and crying”.

Another officer described the children who found Georgia as “extremely emotional”.

Georgia was transported to Royal Berkshire Hospital where she was placed under intensive care.

She “appeared to be breathing” at points during her treatment but her breathing became sporadic by June 18.

Consultants agreed she demonstrated “severe brain damage” and organ failure and a decision was made with the family to turn off her life support on June 19.

What happened in the days leading up to her hanging?

Reading Coroner’s Court heard how Ms Aitken was diagnosed with depression and anxiety in 2015.

However she was discharged from mental health support in April 2016.

More than three years later, in January 2020, she began to struggle again after two major incidents in the family household.

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A social worker reported that her mood had improved by February 2020 and during a scheduled visit in April she was described as “happy and chatty”.

But upon another scheduled visit to Ms Aitken on June 12, she said she felt her mental health was “getting worse” despite taking medication for depression and that she had depressive episodes “out of the blue”.

She described her children as being the reason she would neglect to self-harm.

What did the post-mortem reveal?

Analysis revealed that Georgia had 306 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of her blood following her death.

This was a “significantly high” level, according to coroner Alan Blake, that would typically comatose a person.

The post-mortem concluded that Georgia suffered a hypoxic brain injury due to asphyxiation due to hanging.

Reading Chronicle: Reading Coroner's Court is at Reading Town Hall. Image via Wikimedia CommonsReading Coroner's Court is at Reading Town Hall. Image via Wikimedia Commons

What did the coroner say?

Alan Blake acknowledged that Benjamin Small said Georgia had phoned a mental health crisis team about her wellbeing, but she was allegedly told she would have to wait until the following Monday for an appointment.

A statement from the Crisis Resolution Home Treatment Team indicated logs showed no records of this call, however.

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Mr Blake said there was likely a discrepancy between her calls to the hospital and a purported call to the Crisis team.

Regardless of this, he said these calls to the two hospitals “did not amount to lost opportunities to change the outcome because it seems Georgia was unable or unwilling to share the turbulence of her mind.”

Ruling death by suicide, he added: “May I express my sincere condolences to Georgia’s famil and friends.

“This is the death of a young lady that caused enormous sadness.”

The inquest took place at Reading Coroner’s Court on Wednesday, May 26.

If you are struggling and need support, there are a range of services available to you. 

  • Contact the Samaritans on 116 123 or visit their website here if you are feeling suicidial 
  • Find resources for dealing with depression on MIND's website here
  • Find NHS advice on treating depression here