Brooke Martin

Photo of a young woman with long strawberry-blond hair, wearing a white tank top, smiling for the camera. She has fair skin and brown eyes; her head is tilted.Name: Brooke Martin.
Died: June 11, 2019.
Age at death: 19.
Cause of death: Suicide.
Location: Milton Keynes, England, UK.

Brooke wanted to become a veterinarian. She was “very caring, thoughtful, and sensitive,” her mother remembers.

Diagnosed with autism and emotionally unstable personality disorder, Brooke had been living with the risk of suicide for some time. She had been repeatedly hospitalized involuntarily due to suicide attempts and self-injury.

Hospitalized once again in a unit that supposedly specialized in personality disorders, Brooke initially improved, but then became suicidal again. Staff observed her handling “potential ligatures” which she had hidden under her blanket; but nobody did anything to help. Only minutes later, having been left unattended despite her obvious and active suicidal intent, she was found unconscious in her room. She died the next day.

An inquest found that the hospital had failed to protect Brooke in several ways. They had not searched her room after they saw her handling ligatures, nor had they taken the ligatures away; she was not put on 1:1 observation; and staff who had seen Brooke in danger did not report the problem.

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Lauren Bridges

Selfie of a teenage girl with her dark-blond hair in braids; she has fair skin, blue eyes, and braces on her teeth. She is smiling, and wearing a gray Minnie Mouse shirt.Name: Lauren Bridges.
Died: February 26, 2022.
Age at death: 20.
Cause of death: Suicide/Systemic Failure (Suicide after long-term inadequate treatment).
Location: Manchester, England, UK.

Lauren was a brilliant student who wanted to be either a doctor or a pediatric nurse. Her mother remembers her as loving and gentle.

When Lauren was eight, her younger brother Alfie died of mitochondrial disease, and Lauren’s grief triggered OCD and anxiety about protecting her family. She would perform rituals to calm her anxiety about her family coming to harm.

By fourteen years old, Lauren knew she was mentally ill, and asked for help. She was hospitalized voluntarily. But the unit had no therapy, and no treatment plan. Her autism was misdiagnosed as a personality disorder until she was 17 years old.

Over the next several years, Lauren was an inpatient in six different facilities, and none offered adequate treatment. She had little or no therapy and few activities. She was locked away from daylight and exercise. Sometimes, she was put into seclusion without even a bed–just a ground sheet to sleep on.

Lauren died from suicide while hospitalized.

Lauren’s mother, who fought to try to get Lauren the care she needed when she was alive, is now collecting signatures on a petition to keep autistic children from being detained in hospitals far away from home and away from their parents, to prevent autism from being misdiagnosed as a personality disorder, to establish suicide-prevention measures, and to provide therapy and activities for all inpatients in mental wards and psychiatric hospitals.

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Semina Halliwell

Photo: A teenage girl with long brown hair, brown eyes, and olive-tone skin, wearing a white tank top.Name: Semina Halliwell.
Died: June 12, 2021.
Age at death: 12.
Cause of death: Suicide (Medication overdose).
Location: Southport, England, UK.

Semina was raped, allegedly by an older boy at her school. Traumatized, she told her mother what had happened. Semina, her mother, and her aunt went to the police together; she named her attacker and reported the rape.

But the police did not attempt to help her. Instead, the lead detective only talked about how much paperwork she’d have to do, and how the case would take a long time, and how it would be her word against his.

After reporting the rape, Semina was harassed at school and online. She was assaulted at school, and her family was threatened with violence.

Three months after she first reported the rape, Semina told her parents that she was fed up, went to her room, took an overdose of medication, and died.

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Peter Cairns

Cairns, PeterName: Peter Cairns.
Died: June 11, 2021.
Age at death: 26.
Cause of death: Murder.
Location: Telford, England, UK.

Peter was kind, loving, extremely opinionated, and his family’s voice of reason. He was an inquisitive child who loved asking questions. When he was diagnosed with ADHD and autism as a child, his family established routines to support him, and he flourished. “He taught us that… different is so much better,” his mother says. “He was perfect from the start.”

Peter was found badly hurt and taken to the hospital, where he died. Police arrested four teenagers on suspicion of having ambushed and fatally injured Peter as he walked alone down a footpath.

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Darren Henson

Photo of a young, sandy-haired boy wearing a blue "Birthday Boy" ribbon. His hands are blurred from waving them. Name: Darren Henson.
Died: May 31, 2021.
Age at death: 9.
Cause of death: Multiple homicide (Stabbed).
Location: Louth, England, UK.

Darren was “a happy child with a kind heart”. He loved football (soccer), especially Chelsea. When he stayed with his grandmother and they watched the finals together, she says he cheered so loudly she nearly went deaf.

Darren’s stepfather stabbed him and his mother to death. His nine-month-old little sibling was in the house at the time, but survived unharmed and was found by emergency services. After being convicted of the murders, Darren’s stepfather was sentenced to 40 years to life.

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