CCHR UK volunteers recently joined a peaceful protest in Chelmsford, Essex in support of families who had lost loved ones to psychiatry. The aim of the event was to highlight the need for a public enquiry into the number of people who died while under the care of mental health services in Essex.
The event began in Central Park in Chelmsford city centre where family members spoke of the experiences of their family members including mothers, sons and brothers who had been treated by mental health services.
The protest was organised by Melanie Leahy whose son Matthew died in 2012 while detained under the Mental Health Act at the Linden Centre, a mental health unit in Chelmsford. He was found dead in his room just seven days after being admitted. Since that time, Melanie has been fighting for answers into how this could have happened.
Following the speeches, the peaceful protest made its way along Chelmsford High Street to draw the attention of shoppers to the distressing issues occurring in mental health units in Essex. It followed a circuitous route around the city centre before returning to Central Park for a memorial service.
Melanie Leahy is encouraging other families who have suffered a similar bereavement to get in touch and join the campaign for a public inquiry. Melanie said:
“It’s such a hard thing to come and speak out and now these people, these families they have come and spoken out, I am urging other families to please do the same, we can support each other.”
The protest was featured on the ITV News, on BBC Look East and was covered in other news publications.
If you would like to follow the campaign to get justice for Matthew Leahy and others follow the Facebook page here:
Here are some pictures from the event.