Nurse heartbroken after ‘tragic’ death of Sheffield teacher, 27, in mental health unit

Family members and nursing staff paid tribute to the 27-year-old Sheffield teacher who tragically died while in the care of an acute mental heath unit.

Friday, 15th January 2021, 10:37 am

An inquest heard how Becca Kelly had moved into Forest Close acute mental health unit in Oughtibridge after a number of years of suffering from mental health issues.

She had been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and would often self harm and require hospital treatment.

After a period of improvement her mental health deteriorated over Christmas 2019. She was put on one-to-one observations, however these were stopped at her request on January 6 in an effort to allow her more control – a common method used to reduce self harm.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Forest Close acute mental health unit - Google Maps

Becca was found unresponsive in her room 40 minutes later and died in hospital from a brain injury on January 14, 2020.

Becca’s foster mother Rosemund Hall paid tribute to her, describing her as a ‘beautiful’ and ‘caring’ daughter.

Ms Hall fostered Becca when she was 16, and said that after a difficult initial period “her bubbly personality shone through".

Becca Kelly at her graduation from Sheffield Hallam University.

"Becca became a part of our family unit,” she said. “She was a beautiful and intelligent girl who always thought of others even when she was low herself. She showed this in her work as a teacher.

"She was a daughter to me and she will always be loved by this family.”

While at Sheffield Hallam University Becca was diagnosed with a number of rare physical health problems, including Addison’s disease, postural tachycardia syndrome and diabetes.

These left her unable to walk unassisted and compounded her mental health issues.

Ms Hall said: “These made her work difficult and would cause her to faint and have to go to hospital.

"Through this she continued to go to university and live in halls, which showed what a strong and determined character she was.”

Becca graduated with a first class honours degree in primary school teaching.

Julie Smalley, a clinical nurse manager at Forest Close had a strong relationship with Becca during her time at the unit.

She said: “This is a tragic outcome for somebody that had so much promise and who was such a lovely, warm, caring person.

"When Becca came to Forest Close she was a very vulnerable, frightened young woman who really struggled with her physical health.

"After a rocky start she started to settle down and built some strong relationships with staff.

"She started going back out with friends and set up her own business making cards. She was very arty and she had a very witty sense of humour.”

Ms Smalley also said that Becca’s self harming had reduced by around 50 per cent before Christmas 2019.

Mental health experts and family members at the inquest praised the treatment Becca received at Forest Close.

Ms Hall told the inquest: “I understand why Forest Close had her under observation. It was a very difficult decision.

"But knowing Becca as I do I know that taking away her control and independence, which she already felt was being removed from her, was something she was not able to handle.

"It was the right thing to do to take away the observations and give her freedom. I believe Forest Close was the right place for Becca, and I know she really enjoyed her time there.”

This inquest is ongoing and is expected to last until Friday (January 15).

At the inquest’s conclusion a cause of death will have been determined by the jury.