Mum calls for mental health improvements after death of Afrika Yearwood, 18, in Leeds

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The mum of a teenager who took her own life is urging NHS bosses to make sure young people in crisis get the help they need.

Afrika Yearwood was completing her A-levels when she died aged 18 at Leeds General Infirmary in May 2018.

Family picture

Family picture

Medical negligence specialists at law firm Irwin Mitchell have been instructed to look into the care she received an an inquest is due to be held.

An investigation has already been undertaken into the contact Afrika had with the Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust and Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

Irwin Mitchell said it recommended a review of procedures by the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) in Leeds and suggested that more efforts could have been made to ensure Afrika was seen by experts in a timely manner.

Mum Beverley Yearwood said: "The whole family remains devastated and traumatised by the loss of Afrika. She was a beautiful and extremely gifted young woman and we were very proud of her in so many ways.

“The report which has examined the Afrika received is very difficult to read. It has brought to light some new information for the family, which makes it even harder to read.

“I would urge any parents with concerns about their children that have been told they don’t meet the criteria or threshold for services to never stop challenging and fighting to get them the support they need.”

Following Afrika's death, family and friends raised £12,800 for the Rothwell Cluster, a group of schools offering an emotional and wellbeing counselling service for young people.

Cathy Woffendin, Director of Nursing and Professions at Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said: “On behalf of the trust I’d like to offer our sincere condolences to Afrika’s family.

"We have worked with Mrs Yearwood, and with our healthcare partners, to complete a comprehensive investigation report to understand the care that Afrika received and the actions that need to be taken to prevent this happening again.

"Members of our staff will be appearing at the inquest into Afrika’s death in March.”