A family is mourning the tragic loss of Warrington dad to be Liam Cullen, who took his life after twice seeking “professional” help for his poor mental fitness.
Now, family and friends are campaigning for an investigation into why Liam, aged 28, was “failed by the mental health system.”
On Wednesday, April 29, Barbara Cullen’s life changed forever when she heard that her Grandson, Liam Cullen, had taken his own life.
Barbara said: “He had been begging for help for a while and the day before he had gone to Wakefield House, accompanied by his pregnant girlfriend, Dawn. He was saying that he was hearing voices and he could not cope anymore … he just wanted help as he didn’t want to die.”
“I was confused and left devastated when I heard he did not receive the help he needed, even after begging for it. He was really struggling. This was just not our Liam. He was a bubbly, friendly type of lad but he was just “not there”, not speaking to no-one, just kept wrapping himself up is his clothing, fidgeting and generally mentally unwell, You could see it; something wasn’t right. To be let go like that saying “there was nothing wrong with him” just cannot be right.”
Shortly after Liam left his appointment at Wakefield House, the Police were called to nearby railway bridge, less than a few hundred yards away from the clinic; there had been reports that he was attempting to jump off.
Kerry Cullen, his close cousin, said: “Dawn begged Liam to get down and had no choice but to call for help. Passers-by looked on as Paramedics and Police got Liam off the apex of the bridge. They took him to Hollins Park, obviously because of his actions; he just could not cope no longer.”
Kerry added: “From here no-one really knows what happened as after Liam was taken to Hollins Park Hospital, he left there at 9 pm in a taxi, said to be organised by the hospital. He asked the driver if he could go to Dawn’s house, but the driver refused saying the contract said he had to take him to his address. Liam was never seen again.”
Her statement on Facebook reads:
Just want to clear a few things up … I am sick of seeing people saying Liam should have got help …this is the truth, and as a family, we have decided to share this:
On Tues April 28, my cousin, Liam Cullen had an assessment at Wakefield House where he told the Crisis Team he was hearing voices, that he wanted to kill himself and cried to them for help … guess what? They told him there was nothing wrong with him and sent him on his merry way !!! Liam then ran to the bridge and sat at the top of it. When the paramedic and Police came, he tried to jump, and a police officer managed to catch his arm and pull him back up with help from others … he was then taken to Hollins Park where he once again told the nurses he wanted to die and asked them to please help him … GUESS what … They discharged him and put him in a taxi home !!!! And he wasn’t seen again …
Rest in paradise Liam you’ll never be forgotten 💗💗💗💗💗💗💗💗
The family have since held a memorial at the site where Liam was found. The event was advised to the Police, and all went well, which was very difficult in these times of pandemic.
Mark Moran, founder of RISE, reached out to the Cullen family after enduring a similar experience with his brother David in 2016.
Mark said “Firstly, our love, thoughts and prayers go out to John, Barbara, Kerry and the Cullen Family for the loss of Liam. From the memories we have shared, he sounds a great young guy, and along with Dawn, his partner, he was excited to welcome his little boy into the world before he became ill. My heart goes out to all affected by such tragedy as I have first-hand experience of losing a loved one in such a manner; it leaves more questions behind, but hopefully together as the family move forward, they can find peace.
“The staff at Wakefield House will be subject to their internal procedures, and it certainly isn’t for me to comment on their services as I have the utmost admiration for North West Boroughs staff here in Warrington. Having spent many, many years as a patient with them, I have seen both sides of my story with Services and its not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination. I fully respect the staff and management team in North West Boroughs. I am sure that they will follow procedures; leading to the results being reported via the relevant channels so the Cullen Family will get the answers, they need to help them heal during such a devastating time for them.
“We have completed a Location-Based Suicide Risk Assessment for the area. This problem is not just an NHS or WBC issue … there are issues in many areas, and until we address these issues with the relevant parties, then the opportunity for further preventable deaths continue. We will look to open discussions with any parties who wish to be involved in the assessment discussions that hopefully we can present to the Health & Wellbeing Board when we complete our reports.
“If anybody would like to discuss the broader issues on suicide prevention across Warrington then please contact me via RISEWarrington@gmail.com or our website www.risenw.co.uk.
Mark added: “Looking at the suicide issues across our town in general, in the last discussions I had with our Public Health team at the Council, suicide rates were being reported as reduced across Warrington, However, it doesn’t “feel” that way. As we are hearing about more and more people sadly feeling that suicide is their only and final option. Especially in our young males, there seems to be a story every few weeks and not just through COVID-19 but for a while now.
“We must believe that every loss by suicide IS preventable. We are a member of the Zero Suicide Alliance, and there are some great teams locally in Warrington who attend the Council Health and Wellbeing Boards at three different levels. But what we need now is a collaborative approach to ACT to prevent things from happening and not just talk about things. Heads Together, Time To Talk, etc. are all fantastic campaigns, we now must press on and follow up the talk with action.
“Just this week alone, we, along with statutory services, have offered three males an alternative option to them taking their own lives by just being there and doing what is right by them. Our last “experienced friend” call was over the weekend where we tracked a gentleman down after he made suicidal statements to his boss. He left work, and by helping both his boss, Cheshire & Merseyside Police, we saw him safely home where he got an assessment and is now getting the help he needs.”
Tribute Video by Kerry
I love you xxxx
Posted by Kerry Cullen on Thursday, April 30, 2020
John Heritage, Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Chief Executive at North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We would like to offer our condolences to Liam’s family and friends during what must be a very difficult time. We are carrying out a comprehensive internal investigation into the circumstances that led to Liam’s death, and will be supporting the coroner’s investigation and inquest.
“We would encourage anyone who is experiencing a mental health crisis or is having suicidal thoughts to contact our dedicated mental health crisis line on 01925 275 309.
“The 24/7 line is staffed by trained mental health professionals who will be able to support you to access the help you need as quickly as possible.
“You can also visit our website at www.nwbh.nhs.uk/help-in-a-crisis for guidance around what to do if you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis.”
*www.happyoksad.org.uk has details of local and national mental health services that can offer information, advice, support or treatment. The site is aimed at people who live or work in Warrington and includes details of bereavement support services.