As the Baby 'P' case slips slowly from the headlines you may think it strange to raise it here linked to suicide but there is reason in my apparent madness.
Baby 'P' was a wee innocent baby whose life was snuffed out by his mother and her partner in an horrendous and obscene murder. All must have been horrified at the pain and suffering inflicted on this little boy.
How can there possibly be a link between a suicide victim and this innocent wee baby?
Much of the outrage, both public and political, felt at Baby P's death has moved from those directly responsible to those services - police, NHS, social services - who knew of the family, who had suspicions but yet failed to save him. An inquiry has been held already, heads have rolled, and the government has parachuted in a new head of Haringey's Childrens Services.
In yesterday's mini-post I quoted two Liberal Democrats who were happy at the sacking of the head of Children's Services:
Councillor Robert Gorrie, leader of Haringey Liberal Democrat opposition, said: "This is the right decision. No one should be rewarded for failure in public service. ..... Those in top jobs in public service should be put on notice - there is no hiding place for incompetence and deceit for those charged with looking after the vulnerable children in our society."
Lynne Featherstone, the Liberal Democrat MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, welcomed Shoesmith's departure. "I very much welcome her departure without a single penny. Hopefully it marks a break with the culture of secrecy, failure and deceit that failed Baby P."
The murder of one baby - however horrific - and the failure of the caring services, who were aware of the family, to protect the child has led to massive public interest, personnel changes in the Council department responsible and demands for changes in the way that such cases are handled.
What of a suicide victim?
A suicide doesn't normally generate much publicity. There are those, and Mrs Carr is one, who are known to the NHS and other services as suffering from mental ill-health and as having attempted suicide, who receive minimal, if any, treatment for their mental health problems.
People struggle - often for years - self-harm, overdose, commit suicide because they are left helpless, distraught, despairing. Suicide is not an irrational action but rather it is the rational outcome to a hopeless and intolerable life.
There is sympathy for those with terminal illnesses or severe paralysis who bring an end to their suffering by ending their life. Unfortunately, such sympathy rarely extends to the mentally ill who can take no more. They are seen as ill, irrational, weak, "it's their fault", "if only they would buck up their ideas", "we're well rid of them". There is prejudice, stigma, stereotyping, ignorance, incompetence, neglect - yes, neglect!
Lives become hopeless and intolerable because the caring services don't care, they neglect to look after these patients properly. The ill are non-people. If children were neglected by the services as are these adults there would be, justifiably, a massive outcry, questions raised in parliament, change would happen but for these unfortunate adults there is utter shameful neglect, left to live or die by an uncaring service.
Many don't start out wanting to die but that is where they end up because the NHS either ignores them or offers inadequate treatment for their severe needs and social services unable to provide proper support.
Why are the needy, the desperate left to cope with no, or totally inadequate, support?
Why can the so-called caring services not see the the real situation? Why do they not realise that massive support is required just to keep some functioning at the most basic level? Christ, it's not rocket science! Just proper diagnosis, no stigmatising labels, correct treatment, identify needs and supply care.
We've seen the outcry when a child is allowed to die of neglect but adults are allowed to die of neglect, not of their parents but of the state and there is shameful silence.
Correctly we would never criticise a baby. Likewise those adults who commit suicide shouldn't be criticised.
Their deaths are a flag to the uncaring services we have in this country.
Their deaths shame our politicians!
Their deaths shame the NHS!
Their deaths shame all of us!
Their deaths are a national scandal!
What are we as a society that we tolerate this?
I finish with Councillor Gorrie's quote with one word removed to make it more apposite for the care of potential suicide victims:
"No one should be rewarded for failure in public service. ..... Those in top jobs in public service should be put on notice - there is no hiding place for incompetence and deceit for those charged with looking after the vulnerable
childrenin our society."
Most of us with direct and indirect experience of mental health services know that for far too long incompetence and deceit have gone unchallenged and that unnecessary deaths have gone unremarked and unmissed.