THE mum of a teen who died after spending five months on a psychiatric intensive care unit hope an inquest will end her five-year wait for answers.

Police cadet volunteer Cariss Stone, 19, had been detained under the Mental Health Act when she was found unresponsive in the bathroom of her room.

Cariss, known to mental health services since the age of 15, had been detained six times previously and was staying in the Holford Ward at Wellsprings Hospital in Taunton, Somerset.

She was on a regime that mandated observations every five-minutes. After being found unresponsive, Cariss was taken to hospital.

Following advice from doctors, a decision was made to withdraw life-sustaining treatment. She died on 11 August, 2019, two days after she was found in her room.

An inquest is being held in Wells, Somerset, next week and is expected to last 10 days.

Cariss’ mum, Gina Schiraldi and brother, Luke Stone, of Street, Somerset, have now spoken for the first time about their loss.

Gina said: “Cariss was a very bright girl who enjoyed learning. While at school Cariss completed a Mensa test in which her IQ was found to be 156.

“She had a very caring and compassionate and empathetic nature. She loved being a volunteer police cadet and even while facing her own difficulties, she was concerned for others who were struggling in the world.

“When Cariss was well, she was bright and bubbly and full of energy and ideas. She was very good at organising things and she loved music. She would organise going to gigs with her friends and would have the time of her life.

“While it’s approaching five years since we lost Cariss, time has stood still for us. We still have many concerns about what happened and whether more could have been done to help her. We would do anything to have Cariss back in our lives.”

Between 2014 and 2018 Cariss had been admitted to hospital four times after being diagnosed with an eating disorder.

In March 2019, Cariss, who was studying health and social care at Strode College in Street, was detained under the Mental Health Act. This was the third period of detention since January 2019 and her seventh overall.

She was initially admitted to St Andrew’s Ward at Priory Health Park in Wells, run by Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, on 22 March, 2019.

Cariss was transferred between various wards before being admitted to Holford Ward, a psychiatric intensive care unit (PICU), also run by the NHS Trust, in June 2019.

Alexander Terry, the expert public law and human rights lawyer at Irwin Mitchell who is representing Gina and Luke, said: “Gina and Luke have spent the last five years trying to come to terms with Cariss’ death. This has been made even more painful by the significant wait they have endured for an inquest to be held.

“If during the course of the inquest any issues are identified in Cariss’ care, it’s vital that lessons are learned to improve patient safety.”