A man who died whilst staying at a mental health unit in Ipswich struggled with feelings of hopelessness but seemed to be improving, a court heard.

On Monday, an inquest at Suffolk Coroners' Court opened into the death of Paul Templeton from Saxmundham, who died at the age of 65 in April last year. He is believed to have taken action to harm himself on April 14.

Since January, Mr Templeton had been staying at Woodlands, a mental health unit operated by the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT). Woodlands is separate to Ipswich Hospital but located on the same site in Heath Road.

The court heard that Mr Templeton had been struggling with his mental health for some time. In January 2022, he was told that his landlord planned to sell his rented flat in Low Road and that he would need to find somewhere else to live. This news greatly upset Mr Templeton, who had lived at the property for the past eight years.

Over the coming months, Mr Templeton found himself sleeping poorly and losing weight.

He had several appointments with his GP, community mental health nurses and a consultant psychiatrist. Mr Templeton was found to be suffering with anxiety and depression and was diagnosed with narcissistic and avoidant personality disorder.

However, Mr Templeton was reluctant to take prescribed medication or to engage with talking therapies. His GP, Dr Michael Hamblin, queried whether it would be possible to detain him under the Mental Health Act.

However, the community mental health team found that he had capacity to make his own decisions and was not judged to be at risk from suicide.

On December 22, Mr Templeton’s brother, Stephen Templeton, became concerned that he could not gain entry to his brother’s flat. A key was obtained, and Mr Templeton was found inside in a state of collapse.

He was taken to Ipswich Hospital, and it was found that he had developed an acute kidney injury due to not eating or drinking.

Once his physical health had been treated, Mr Templeton was transferred to Woodlands under Section 2 of the Mental Health Act. This later changed to Section 3, which allowed Mr Templeton to be detained in hospital for six months.

Whilst in the Woodlands, Mr Templeton was under the care of consultant psychiatrist Dr Sharmim Ruhi on the Willows Ward.

Dr Ruhi said that Mr Templeton was a quiet, private man who would often be found with a book by his side. He found Mr Templeton to be well-educated and a deep thinker, who had some experience of mental health treatment himself.

The court heard that he had been part of community groups supporting others with their wellbeing, and Dr Ruhi said that Mr Templeton had previously trained to become a biodynamic therapist, although he had not finished the course.

At various points, Mr Templeton was heard to express feelings of hopelessness and said that nothing more could be done to help him. However, Dr Ruhi said that as time went on, he appeared to have been “on the recovery trajectory”. He had been eating and drinking more regularly and was getting better at taking his medication more consistently. He had also discussed his life after his hospital stay and had made reference to finding somewhere new to live.

Mr Templeton remained in the ward as an inpatient until April 14. At this point, it is believed that he took action to harm himself. He died the following week on April 20.

The inquest continues.

If you need urgent mental health support, call NHS 111 and select option 2 or the Samaritans on 116 123. Both services are available 24 hours 7 days a week.