The widow of a former teacher who became suicidal after a medical diagnosis stripped him of his identity has launched an extraordinary attack on mental health services for their lack of help for him.

The body of Keith Sadler, a talented musician, was found at his brother's home in Norwich on October 10 last year.

An inquest into his death, held this week at Norfolk Coroner’s Court, heard he had taken an overdose of unprescribed prescription drugs.

Anna Sadler, his wife, told the hearing that he had been seeking help from the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT), which provides mental health care, but that it had "shut the door on him", in his hour of need.

In a blistering attack, she condemned the trust "in the strongest possible terms" and said that it - and another support service he had tried to use - had "made things worse".

Reading from a statement, she described his struggles and efforts to get help.

“In 2009, Keith became unwell and was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and fibromyalgia, leading to him having to give up work," she said.

“He had bad periods of depression where he would feel extremely low and was later diagnosed with type 2 bipolar. 

“I witnessed him gradually sink into depression, suicidal thoughts, and he would say that he hated his life. 

“But by 2021, he became very proactive at trying to reach out for help.” 

He eventually spoke with his GP who referred him to mental health services. 

Following an appointment in March 2022, it was acknowledged that he was suffering with PTSD symptoms.  

However, during a follow-up call, he was advised that NSFT would not be able to support him. 

Mrs Sadler added: “The NSFT said that because Keith was using alcohol, they would not offer any support to him, and he was discharged. 

“I phoned NSFT to express my concern, but this was their decision.  

“It was a traumatic experience for Keith to open up and he felt completely let down that NSFT shut the door on him.” 

Before this, Mr Sadler had also contacted Turning Point, a drug and alcohol support service in Ipswich, but found it “unproactive” in helping him.

Following the NSFT decision, his alcohol consumption worsened, so he contacted Turning Point again and began attending support groups with the aim of completing a home detox. 

Eastern Daily Press: An inquest into the death of Keith Sadler was held at Norfolk Coroner's Court

Unfortunately Turning Point was unable to proceed with this due to the amount of alcohol Mr Sadler was consuming.

He eventually attended private rehabilitation in April 2023 for four weeks. 

Mrs Sadler said: “I felt that rehab was an extremely important and positive experience and when I picked him up, he looked like a new man, sober, and full of hope and positivity. 

“I would like to state in the strongest possible terms that Keith had no assistance of any use whatsoever from state-run services, NSFT mental health services and Turning Point. 

“In fact, they made things worse. 

"I admired Keith for fighting on and trying to find help.” 

Following his time in rehabilitation, his physical health declined, and he was found unresponsive by his brother at his home. 

Despite attempts by paramedics, he was declared dead at the scene. 

The medical cause of death was given as “dihydrocodeine toxicity” and senior coroner, Jacqueline Lake, recorded a conclusion of “drug-related death”. 

An NSFT spokesperson said: “Our thoughts are with Keith’s family at this very difficult time. We would like to pass on our sincere and heartfelt condolences to them.

“We are committed to working with families, carers and service users on our improvement and transformation journey to provide safer, kinder and better care.

"Therefore, we would encourage Keith’s family to get in touch if they have any further questions or we can support them in any other way.”

Eastern Daily Press: An inquest into the death of Keith Sadler was held at Norfolk Coroner's Court


Although the couple were separated at the time of Mr Sadler’s death, Mrs Sadler, of Needham Market, said they remained close friends and still “very much loved each other”. 

“When I met Keith, he was in good health, had an active life, and went on to work as a teacher, run marathons, and attended church and saw friends,” she said. 

“He was a talented songwriter and performer, and was loved and respected among musician friends, playing gigs, recording albums, and supporting other artists. 

“He enjoyed cooking for people and wanted to create a positive community around him. 

“He had seemed hopeful and positive about his vision for his future.” 

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