A 22-YEAR-OLD man was found dead on a building site after mental health teams refused to assess him for support, an inquest has heard.

Aaron Bowman, of Picket Twenty Way, Andover, who was described by his father as a “happy go-lucky lad” was found hanged by a site owner on February 1 after struggling to gain help for depression.

On Monday his family told an inquest into his death at Winchester Coroners Court that in October last year Mr Bowman had sought help from St Mary’s Surgery, in Church Close, to tackle his “chronic low mood”.

In a statement, Dr Ben Sharpe said he referred Mr Bowman to the Southern Health NHS Trust community mental health team for assessment “sooner rather than later”.

But by the time the referral had been sent to the mental health team, Dr Sharpe was on holiday, and instead a senior nurse from the mental health team spoke to another doctor who had not known of Mr Bowman’s mental health problems and was advised to ring Mr Bowman himself.

Consultant psychiatrist Dr Rozmari Zaloni told the hearing the nurse called Mr Bowman and the nurse decided an appointment would be made within 10 days, which Dr Zaloni admitted was a “downgrade” from the original plan for an assessment.

However, the inquest heard from the trust’s serious incident investigating officer Kellie Wilden who said that the nurse was not in a position to do this and it was a “deviation from the standard procedure”, adding that it is not known whether Mr Bowman was contacted but “he should have been told about the plan and the reasons why”.

And at two separate team meetings on November 17 and 24 it was decided Mr Bowman would not be assessed due to cannabis use which the nurse deemed was “contributing to his chronic low mood” and instead he would be signposted to drug and alcohol misuse service Inclusion, which Mrs Wilden said was a break from policy.

She added “substance misuse is not a reason” for someone to be refused an assessment as Inclusion could have been linked in with help from the trust.

After the refusal from the community mental health team, Mr Bowman and his mother Jenna Hayden-Bates turned to Andover Mind in December 2017.

The former Ocado delivery driver met with Rebecca Withers from the charity in January.

Ms Withers completed an assessment form which was sent to his GP to add other information, but this was returned blank.

Mr Bowman’s case was discussed at a clinical meeting but, Ms Withers said, due to a high number of referrals over Christmas his case was to be put back to the next week.

Mr Bowman was then sent a letter advising him that if he needed help a key worker would be available, but the family say the letter never arrived, and by the time a call for February 2 was scheduled to contact Mr Bowman it was too late.

In statements to police his mother Jenna and father Philip Bowman said Mr Bowman’s mood would be “extremely high” to “absolutely heartbroken” during his on-off relationship with his ex-girlfriend, and in early last year she aborted their baby which they believed was the “turning point” for Mr Bowman.

In a statement after the inquest, his family said: “We have lost our gorgeous son. He was a kind, caring and considerate young man who always had time for others.

“He was the light of our lives and will be treasured in our hearts forever.”

Assistant coroner for Hampshire Samantha Marsh concluded Mr Bowman died as a result of suicide, in part because his referral to mental health services was “inappropriately treated”.

Mrs Marsh added: “Unfortunately his history of drug use was incorrectly factored in when [Mr] Bowman’s suitability for professional assessment was considered.”

And if Mr Bowman had been assessed, she said: “It may have resulted in a different outcome and it may have resulted in us not being sat here today.”

If you are struggling with mental health or suicidal thoughts, the Samaritans are available on 116 123.