Joshua Adey-Rennard: Tragic case of Sheffield man highlighted in Channel 4 show about mental health failings

The tragic death of a Sheffield man was highlighted in a Channel 4 investigation into the strain on mental health services in England and Wales.

Friday, 10th June 2022, 4:14 pm

“Kind, loving and compassionate” Joshua Adey-Rennard took his own life in September 2021 after months of being passed from pillar to post by mental health providers.

The 33-year-old – who “loved” his work helping the city’s homeless as part of Shelter – had to be sent to Darlington and then Colchester after he was sectioned because there were no beds in Sheffield.

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The death of a Sheffield man has been highlighted in a Channel 4 News segment about widespread delays and failings in mental health provisions.

During a mental health episode after he came home, Josh was reportedly handcuffed and made to wait in A&E for eight hours for a bed to be available.

Now, Josh’s story has been highlighted in a Channel 4 News segment on growing failings in mental health services in the past five years.

In the broadcast yesterday, Josh’s mother Gillian Adey told how if Josh was to have a psychotic episode outside of office hours, they should just ring the police.

"About five policemen wrestled him to the ground, handcuffed him and put him in the back of a police van like he had committed a crime,” she said.

"The only crime he committed was being terribly distressed.

"Our grandson, he says to me ‘I missed Uncle Josh because he played and played and played’. He was a good uncle. He would take them back covered in mud and ice cream.”

Josh’s dad, Malcolm Rennard, said: “He was great. He love working for Shelter, he loved helping people, he was very kind and he loved his dog.”

At his inquest in March, the coroner heard how Josh told a nurse a week before his death that he had considered suicide, but this was not disclosed to his family.

The coroner ordered a preventing future deaths report and said he would write to Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust asking it to explain how it will prevent delays for people in serious need of care.

However, Channel 4’s investigation highlighted how the number of similar warnings of overstretched services by coroners had multiplied from 16 in 2017 to 126 in 2021.

Chief executive of MIND Paul Farmer called the investigation a “red flashing warning light” to the Government that people are dying unnecessarily and action is needed.