Family pays tribute to ‘smart, capable’ University of Brighton student who died in Lancing

Lucy Spears studied at the University of Brighton and lived in Lancing
Lucy Spears studied at the University of Brighton and lived in Lancing

The family of a University of Brighton student who took her own life in Lancing has described her as a ‘smart, capable’ woman whose death was a ‘devastating’ loss.

Lucy Spears, a 22-year-old student mental health nurse, was found dead in the bedroom of her home in Wembley Gardens, Lancing, on Wednesday, May 9, 2018.

An inquest into her death was held at Crawley Coroner’s Court yesterday (Wednesday, February 6).

READ MORE: Lancing student’s death prompts concerns about mental health support at University of Brighton

A post-mortem examination found the cause of death to be hanging.

After the inquest, her family said: “Lucy’s loss has been devastating for us, her family, and it is proving almost impossible to come to terms with.

“Nine months after her death we still miss her terribly.

“Lucy was smart, capable, had a small group of close friends and although quiet she had a great sense of humour.

“In the few years after leaving school she pursued her passion for passion for travel and visited many countries, including Australia, America and a number of European countries.”

Her family said they now believed Lucy had always struggled with stress and depression.

“Her career choice, mental health nursing, was her own attempt to tackle her issues,” they said.

“A manager at The Priory, where Lucy worked before going to university, commented on how good she was working with patients and went so far as to say ‘she undoubtedly saved many lives’.”

The family expressed disappointment that Lucy took her own life despite her being under the care of the crisis resolution and home treatment team at Sussex Partnership Trust.

The inquest heard that the team had been meeting with Lucy daily.

While she had told the team she had ‘intense suicidal thoughts’ – she also said did not plan to act on these thoughts and there was evidence that Lucy would contact the team if she was feeling unsafe, the court heard.

The day before Lucy was found dead, she was visited by two mental health professionals who both said they did not believe her to be at immediate risk of suicide.

An internal investigation into the incident at the Sussex Partnership Trust found no problems with the service delivery or Lucy’s care, confirmed social worker Lucy Steiner.

The family said: “We find it baffling that, despite all the evidence, those best positioned to help her were unable to take decisive action to prevent her death.

“With Lucy gone there is now a hole in our lives, and in our hearts, that can never be filled.”

SEE MORE: Lancing student’s death prompts concerns about mental health support at University of Brighton