Roy Curtis

Habayeb, AymanName: Roy Curtis (Birth name Ayman Habayeb).
Died: August 21, 2019.
Age at death: 28.
Cause of death: Suicide/Neglect (Hanging; Ignored by social services despite needed support).
Location: Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England, UK.

Roy lived on his own, though he was disabled and could not work. He was estranged from family. On government benefits, he constantly had to deal with paperwork and make phone calls, and with every move he risked that his benefits would be terminated if he did not do everything right. He was asked to attend a “work capability assessment”, where the officials ignored his needs and reduced his benefits. There was no one to help him with the paperwork, and every effort seemed aimed at rejecting him for benefits. Stressed, Roy came down with depression.

Roy was unable to trust the mental health system because he knew that the only help offered him would be a four-week stay in a crowded mental health unit, where he would receive little help, would deteriorate from the stress and lack of privacy, and would be inevitably discharged after four weeks even if he had not improved.

Eventually Roy was scheduled for another work capability assessment. Tired of being ignored and refused help at every turn, he declined to attend. His benefits were terminated and, unable to pay the rent, he was being threatened with eviction. He knew that he would be unable to buy food and would be homeless when his benefits were stopped; so he decided to, instead, commit suicide. His body was found hanging in his apartment months after his death.

Editor’s note: Making assistance impossible to obtain and making benefits impossible to maintain without assistance ultimately caused Roy’s suicidal crisis and death. His parents are angry that social services did not communicate with them about his case, but Roy had directly asked social services not to do so, and in this–though in nothing else–they respected his wishes. Social services were right to listen to Roy’s desire not to have his parents take over his case, but they were utterly negligent in not offering the help he needed, either with maintaining his benefits or with treating his depression. Had Roy had a reasonably competent case manager assigned to him, the outcome might have been very different.

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