Hartlepool family say mum of three who died aged just 36 was let down by mental health system

Kerry Cowan and daughter Megan. Kerry was also mum to twins Courtney-Jasmine and David
Kerry Cowan and daughter Megan. Kerry was also mum to twins Courtney-Jasmine and David

A Hartlepool woman is leading a campaign for better mental health care after her sister died at the age of just 36.

Mother of three Kerry Cowan died earlier this month after years of emotional suffering she had endured since she was raped at when she was 18.

Kerry Cowan's sister Natasha Graham

Kerry Cowan's sister Natasha Graham

Her sister Natasha Graham, who lives in town, is leading calls for better mental health services and says Kerry was let down.

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill is backing the family’s campaign after being contacted by Natasha and says he will ask questions in Parliament.

Kerry, who lived in Carshalton, Surrey, died of sclerosis of the liver, multiple organ failure and an internal haemorrhage after turning to drink.

Natasha told the Mail: “She tried to access mental health services several times but was just basically passed from pilar to post and never got the help she needed.

“I think it she did get help then possibly her life would have been different.

“She loved her children dearly, but she went through a really hard life.

“She didn’t deserve to be taken like she was. Mental health services have let her down tremendously.”

Mr Hill said mental health and funding needs to be looked at by Parliament.

“I will be pushing hard for improvements,” he said. “We should not be letting people like Kerry down.”

The Department of Health says it has made major improvements in recent years including setting up new waiting standards and is to invest an extra £1 billion every year until 2021.

A spokesman said: “However we know there is still more to do, which is why we are undertaking a widespread programme of mental health transformation to improve access and make mental health services more widely available across the country.”

Natasha has started a crowdfudning webpage to try to raise £1,500 towards Kerry’s funeral costs at http://bit.ly/2hgRKvb