Inquest finds Sunderland teenager took his own life as mum is praised for helping him with mental health struggles

The mum of a Sunderland teenager who died after leaving a mental health unit was praised for her devotion through his struggles.

Thursday, 21st January 2021, 5:42 pm

Keaton Shawn Burton was an informal patient at the Tranwell Unit at Gateshead’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital after going missing from his Sunderland home on June 11, 2019, having left notes which led his mother Jessica Talbot to believe he planned to take his life.

He started to experience mental health difficulties in his teens, either caused or exacerbated by the use of illicit substances.

He had a working diagnosis of severe depression and a prescription for anti-depressants from the unit.

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Scores of tributes were paid to 19-year-old Keaton Burton following his death in June 2019.

The 19-year-old had “tested the boundaries” saying he wanted to go home, but his mother and staff agreed it was not in his best interests.

Keaton’s mum rallied his friends for a visit to see him which had raised his spirits.

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Tributes paid to 19-year-old Keaton Burton who was found dead in Sunderland wood...

On the night of June 23, during a cigarette break, he left the hospital grounds, with Northumbria Police grading him a medium risk.

He went to his aunt’s, then his mum’s, before “absconding” and was found dead in the Tunstall Hill area on June 24.

PC Paul Kindon, a police search adviser, reviewed his colleagues’ efforts and told Keaton’s inquest at Sunderland Civic Centre he would not have made different decisions, with more resources put into the search than similar cases.

Assistant coroner Karin Welsh noted two reviews should have been completed by the unit and could have helped communication with Ms Talbot.

However, she said she found they would not have made a difference to the outcome.

Ms Welsh concluded a suicide verdict and said: “Can I make it clear that I do not believe this could not have been foreseen by anyone involved with Keaton in the couple of days leading up to his death and I include both professionals involved in his care and his family and Jessica.”

A legal representative for Cumbria Northumberland Tyne and Wear Trust, offered assurances calls for better communication would be acted on.

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