Date: Monday 11 February 2013
The tragic death of Jonathan Andel Malia who lost his life while in the care of mental health services, just three weeks into the New Year, has again raised concerns about the treatment of patients from the UK's African Caribbean communities detained in this system.
The physically fit and healthy father-of-one was admitted as a voluntary patient to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Selly Oak Birmingham on the 4th of January this year.
He was transferred to Meadow Croft Hospital in Winson Green the next day. When his girlfriend called to establish how he was doing staff informed her that he was 'banging his head' and 'being aggressive'.
On the 7th of January Andell-Malia was transferred for the third time in four days, but this time to the Cygnet Hospital in Stevenage Hertfordshire.
For 10 consecutive days the from Monday 7th January to Thursday 17th Andel Malia's girlfriend called Cygnet Hospital to find out about her partners welfare. She was denied all access to him and was told by staff that he was in no fit state to come to the phone.
On 17th January staff at the Chamberlain Ward at Cygnet Hospital contacted Andel Malia's partner to tell her that he had been transferred from the privately run hospital, where his had gone into cardiac arrest to Lister Hospital to be resuscitated.
Later that afternoon Andell-Malia's partner was told that he suffered another heart attack and was pronounced dead at 3pm on Thursday 17th January 2013.
When asked what had happened staff at Cygnet told his family that the 24-year-old 'went to visit the bathroom and had 'keeled over'.
The death of yet another black man detained under the Mental Health Act just three weeks into the New Year has led to renewed calls for wholesale reform in the treatment of people from the UK's African Caribbean communities who come in contact with the system. This case has also raises widespread concern about the welfare of those detained in this system.
Michelle Fullerton, aunt of Jonathan David Andel Maila said: 'We want justice and answers, we want to establish what went wrong and for those responsible to admit it, not have this swept under the carpet. There are far too many cases like this and they get covered up we need to see an end to this, because is it wrong on so many levels, everybody's angry. He was a nice young man, he was intelligent, he went into hospital as a voluntary patient to see if he could get some get some help and now he is dead.'
Matilda MacAttram director Black Mental Health UK: ' Just three weeks into the New Year, the last thing anyone would have expected to hear is that there has been yet another death of a young man from the African Caribbean community while detained in mental health services, it's like the lessons from all the other fatalities have not been learnt.
Jonathan Andel Mailia case reinforces once again the need for wholesale reform in the way this group are treated by the services, and proper accountability on the part of those who are found to be negligent in these cases where there is loss of a life.'
Notes to the editor
- Black Mental Health UK is a human rights campaigns group established to address the over representation of African Caribbean's within secure psychiatric care and raise awareness to address the stigma associated with mental health.
- People from the UK's African Caribbean communities continue to be over represented among those detained under the Mental Health Act even though black people do not suffer higher rates of mental illness than any other ethnic group.
- People detained under the Mental Health Act account for 60% of all deaths in state custody
- People from the UK's African Caribbean communities are over represented among those who lose their lives while detained under the Mental Health Act.