A 38-year-old schizophrenic woman’s dead body was found after four years
Laura Winham was receiving support from the Mental Health Services (MHS) and social services for her disability. Due to her schizophrenia, she had cut contact with her family as she heard voices telling her that her family would harm her. Her family cared for her dearly and thought whatever would be best for her should be done. They left her in the hands of professionals and thought would resume contact when she recovers.
Her dead body was discovered in 2021, four years after her death in 2017. Her mother and brother despite regular attempts to contact her decided to visit her. Her brother discovered something under a blanket through the letter box peephole. Later, when the police barged into her flat, she was found dead in a mummified skeletal form. She had scribbled “I need help” in a calender kept next to her and what her brother saw was her foot. Her sister is really distraught with the way how everyone who was supposed to take care of her just turned a blind eye to her and is responsible for this death.
Laura Winham suffered from Goldenhar Syndrome when she was a child and was deaf. She also underwent heart surgery at the age of 18. Despite her problems, she did her schooling, attended college, and got a degree. People in her neighborhood started noticing how she kept alone and did not interact much. She was also very thin, some of her neighbors contacted mental health services and told them that she was suffering from some mental health issues. The mental health services were in contact with her during her treatment for schizophrenia but did not do their job well. They could have saved her and but they did not keep a check on her knowing her troubles.
The welfare was cut without any check on her by the social services and in August 2019, her gas supply was also stopped. There was no word from her landlord or her neighbors regarding her death and she kept laying for four years in one of the clamped flats of her apartment. The family has filed a case in court against the mental health services and the social services. They have a hearing on January 30th. Laura Winham’s death is a cause of concern that needs to be rectified and dealt with before any such accidents repeat.
Disability should not be taken lightly, and people should be more concerned about people who need help. Money should not be in question for the treatment of any person suffering, there need to be many changes made regarding welfare schemes. Laura Winham’s helplessness for her situation despite trying so hard should not go to waste. Now, we can only pray for her loss, and wish she wouldn’t have suffered what she went through. May her soul rest in peace and give light to many such people who are neglected by society on regular basis some hope and voice.
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