A WOMAN was found dead in woodland just days after being discharged from a mental heath hospital, an inquest heard.

Alison Milchem had been receiving treatment for depression following a hospital admission for an overdose.

She was discharged from Antelope House in Southampton on January 29, but after failures in communication at the mental health trust her situation deteriorated.

Winchester Coroner’s Court heard how the 62-year-old, whose mental health was tied to chronic back pain, was getting ready to go out with her husband on the morning of February 2. While he was upstairs, she left their home in Forest Road, Chandler’s Ford, with her medication.

Following a search involving the police helicopter and dogs, her body was discovered that evening in woodlands in Ampfield, near Romsey, along with a bag containing a note.

Pathologist Dr Adnan Al-Badri told the inquest that although Mrs Milchem had cuts on her arms, these were not life-threatening. Instead, a toxicology report revealed she had died after taking a cocktail of medication.

However, the inquest heard that failings by Southern Health were identified in her case.

A probe carried out by independent investigator Mandy Slaney revealed that a referral asked for by her doctor to the acute mental health team, which would have made contact to ensure her wellbeing and risk of harm, was not made.

Ms Slaney also told the inquest that Mrs Milchem, described as “bright” and “kind” by her husband, was handed two weeks of medication when she was discharged, despite previous overdoses, and said that although it was in line with policy, the family could have been more involved to reduce the risk of a further incident.

She added that her recommendations are being implemented by Southern Health.

Recording a conclusion of suicide, assistant coroner Simon Burge said: “I struggle to understand why the risk of suicide was considered to be low or moderate.”

Dr Sarah Constantine, Southern Health associate medical director, said: “I was deeply saddened to learn of Alison’s death and my thoughts are with her family and friends on this difficult and distressing day.”“Alison’s care has been the subject of a thorough investigation and discussions from the ward to the board. It is clear that there were missed opportunities to improve the support we offered.”

We have apologised to Alison’s husband and thanked him for his valuable involvement in the investigation process.

“Changes have been, and will continue to be made at Antelope House as a result of this tragedy.”