GIRL ON MEDICATION TOOK HER OWN LIFE
A DISTRAUGHT mother has called for changes in the law after her teenage daughter hanged herself while taking a controversial anti-depressant.
Sharise Gatchell, 18, underwent a complete personality change when she took Seroxat, which hit the headlines just two weeks after the teenager's death.
Sharise's mum Stephanie said the drug 'scared her' and she asked the teenager not to take it again. But the Newhaven teenager secretly went back on the anti-depressant — and just weeks later she hanged herself while her parents were away for the weekend.
The Committee on the Safety of Medicines released a warning just two weeks after Charise's death saying under 18-year-olds should not be prescribed the drug.
The Eastbourne inquest heard Charise, of Lawes Avenue, was an 'extremely talented' artist, studying at Brighton's City College.
But her life had become blighted by depression and in the days before her death she refused to get out of bed and did not bathe every day.
'She once told me she thought she was depressed even as a child but it really became very noticeable during puberty,' explained Mrs Gatchell.
'She never, ever mentioned harming herself — she was more of a self-pamperer.
'The only time she ever harmed herself was the previous occasion she was taking Seroxat and she cut her arm.
'She went from being a shy introverted child to almost the class clown while taking it. It was a big personality change.
'That was the main reason I did not want her to go back on Seroxat. It scared me. In the couple of weeks before her death she was definitely acting strangely. But I had no idea she was taking Seroxat.
'She was aggressive, even hostile. And she was very, very depressed.
'There has been controversy around Seroxat for years. Why still take the risk? I know Charise asked for it, but I don't think people who are that depressed can be trusted.
'I feel cheated we as a family did not know about this. If we had known she was taking Seroxat we would not have gone away for the weekend. We would have watched her.
'There is something wrong with the law. Depressed people are not rational.
'I am very, very frustrated and sad that her next appointment with her doctor would have been the day after her death.'
Dr Zoe Nunn, who prescribed Charise the Seroxat, said the teenager had seemed 'fairly chirpy' when she saw her. And she said she was legally obliged to keep medical details private if the patient is over the age of 16.
Charise's parents found her hanging from the loft hatch when they returned from a weekend away. An empty packet of Seroxat pills had been left 'prominently' on her bed, according to coroner Alan Craze.
Mr Craze said he would be passing on the details of Charise's 'extremely tragic' death to the Committee on the Safety of Medicines.
'I know that this has been a shock for the parents that they will never forget. I know the time since her death will have been extremely difficult for them.'
He recorded a verdict of suicide.
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