Family of trans person who died by suicide outside hospital A&E says they were let down by NHS

Matty Sheldrick wears headphones and poses with their dog Lola

The family of a trans person who died by suicide outside the A&E of a Brighton hospital say they were the victim of “gross negligence” by NHS mental health services.

The Clare Project, a Brighton transgender support group, announced the death of 29-year-old Matty Sheldrick on 25 November.

Sheldrick had a “complex history with mental health”, the group said according to Brighton and Hove News. Earlier this year they were forced to spend three weeks in A&E at Royal Sussex County Hospital, as no bed was available for them on a mental health unit.

The sociology student and poet, who was trans and non-binary and used they/ he pronouns, was eventually discharged home, despite expressing a desire to end their life.

Sheldrick was also neurodivergent, and experienced several “meltdowns” during their time in hospital, The Clare Project said.

The group continued: “There were occasions where they were also questioning Matty’s gender and where they should or could go for support as they were transgender and autistic… Matty shared that, during their stay in A&E, there were a couple of occasions they were forcibly restrained and one case where they were also injected with sedation despite consent not being sought.

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“Over the course of the next two to three weeks following discharge, Matty had several engagements with NHS crisis team, their GP and The Clare Project where they stated they were still struggling with thoughts around suicide.”

Tragically, Sheldrick eventually acted on those thoughts outside the hospital A&E on 4 November, having earlier that day been found to be within capacity by a mental health capacity assessment.

They spent 17 days in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), before passing away.

Both The Clare Project and Sheldrick’s family are calling for the hospital to conduct a thorough investigation, insisting that the young trans person was failed by the NHS.

“Matty’s family, GP, ourselves and the community are advocating for a full and thorough investigation,” The Clare Project told Brighton and Hove News.

“We are calling on Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust (who run mental health services) alongside University Hospitals Sussex (who operationally run A&E) to declare this a serious incident requiring investigation and for a full criminal investigation to be carried out by Sussex Police.”

The Clare Project said that a criminal investigation should determine whether there was “gross negligence” on the part of the NHS, and whether manslaughter charges should be brought.

Sheldrick’s mother Shelagh told The Argus:  “We’re still exploring options, it’s quite a difficult process but it has to be done because Matty’s life can’t pass by unnoticed, he didn’t deserve this. He just needed some help; he was reaching out for a place of safety.”

“Ultimately, he was a human being, and he was a very kind, caring and creative soul who unfortunately had mental health difficulties,” she added.

“Everyone who came into contact with Matty became fond of him. He touched everyone’s hearts. We’re all devastated.

“His dad and I were by his bedside for the last few weeks while he was in ICU. We can’t make sense of how this has happened. It’s like a horror story.”

A spokesman for Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said: “We offer our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Matty Sheldrick and all those affected by their death.

“The circumstances leading up to what happened will be investigated fully with our NHS partners and the findings will be shared with their family when complete.

“As is normal practice, the investigation report will also be shared with the coroner to assist her investigation.”

Suicide is preventable. Readers who are affected by the issues raised in this story are encouraged to contact Samaritans on 116 123 (, or Mind on 0300 123 3393 ( ​

Readers in the US are encouraged to contact the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255.