Name: John Worthington.
Died: August 11, 2017.
Age at death: 32.
Cause of death: Suicide (Committed suicide after emergency services hung up on him because of his speech impediment).
Location: Norwich, England, UK.
John was a former nightclub owner. He was good with his hands and liked to fix things.
John’s mental health began to deteriorate. He was trying to find mental health assistance, but he found it near impossible. He visited his doctor, but was told to go away and call the NHS crisis line instead. He was told that he couldn’t call 999 when he was in crisis. He had to wait five months for a simple assessment.
At 32, John was finally diagnosed with emotionally unstable personality disorder and anxiety disorder. He got a diagnosis, but no treatment.
Over two years after he had first reported suicidal ideation and about nine months after he finally got a diagnosis, John was calling the NHS crisis line repeatedly, begging for help. In crisis, he called the NHS line four times. The operator lost patience with him and hung up because he had a speech impediment.
That night, John committed suicide. He survived the initial attempt, but his brain was so badly damaged that he died in the hospital a month later.
Editor’s note: The stigma of emotionally unstable personality disorder, formerly known as borderline personality disorder, is such that people with this diagnosis have trouble finding therapists who are willing to treat them. The disorder involves an unstable sense of self, intense and unstable relationships, and uncontrolled emotions. The label “borderline” has become synonymous with “troublesome patient”, making it difficult for these people to find help regardless of how much they need it. The name change from “borderline” to “emotionally unstable” does not seem to have alleviated this problem.