THE son of a man who was described as 'going into a mental health abyss' before his death has described the care his father received as 'abysmal.' 

Nicolas Gerasimidis, a 58-year-old former barrister living in Porthleven, died by suicide on June 3, 2023, after being 'severely let down by health services in Cornwall,' an inquest has heard today (Tuesday, January 30). 

Described by Legal 500 as "an excellent lawyer - highly articulate and with gravitas," Nicolas moved to Porthleven with his family in 2020 and was described by his GP as a 'very complex patient' having suffered trauma as a child which subsequently led to his mental health suffering, with OCD and anxiety among the issues he endured. 

Nicolas self-managed his mental health for several years, however, in November 2022, the inquest heard that Nicolas had what was described by his son, Adam Gerasimidis, as a 'severe mental health crisis'. 

Nicolas was referred to secondary care by his GP twice in 2022 but was not taken on and was directed to talking therapy. The inquest also heard how Nicolas had been reluctant to take certain medications due to the risk of addiction. 

In his statement, Adam Gerasimidis explained that, in November 2022, his father had a severe mental health crisis and, six months later in May of 2023, was presenting with psychosis .

He was assessed by the Community Mental Health Team on May 31. The family asked for Nicolas to be sectioned as they felt it vital for urgent action to be taken. 

On June 3, 2023, Nicolas died by suicide in his home in Porthleven. 


In his statement, Adam went on to say that he did not feel relevant safeguarding was put in place. He said: "The lack of compassion and human decency has staggered me. These services should have shown compassion. 

"We feel as if we have all been failed. 

"Suicides will become more prevalent if changes are not made in the NHS.

"We don't want families to have to endure the ever-lasting pain that we now have to endure for the rest of our lives."

In a closing statement, Senior Coroner Andrew Cox said: "Nicolas Gerasimidis had a reasonably long history of mental health illness which included OCD and anxiety.

"He self-managed that for a number of years. Then, in 2022, took a turn for the worse."

Mr Cox went on to explain that, after being admitted to the emergency department at Treliske, Nicolas was again referred to the community mental health team and, on that occasion, was taken on. He was then admitted to hospital for three weeks before self-discharging. 

It was then recognised by the Community Mental Health Team that his treatment should be psychological therapy, but this was not available at the time. 

Eventually, Nicolas's presentation worsened and he was referred back to the Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust's (CPFT) home treatment team. It was also explained that an informal admission could not take place due to a lack of beds. 

The inquest also heard that there had been a number of challenging staffing issues following Nicolas's referral, however, Senior Coroner Andrew Cox recognised that staff were put in an 'impossible situation' given the circumstances. 

He also recorded that Nicolas had taken his own life and had intended to do so, and that he would be writing a Preventing Future Deaths letter to the Secretary of State, the chief executives of the CPFT and the ICB, as well as Nicolas's GP. 

If you need to talk to someone for any reason, there are people to reach out to:

Shout: Shout is a free, confidential, anonymous service for anyone in the UK. It won’t appear on your phone bill. To start a conversation, text the word 'SHOUT' to 85258.

Samaritans: Call day or night for free on 116 123. 

Mind: Get short and longer term support in a mental health crisis by visiting 

If you feel like your life is at risk right now or you need urgent medical help call 999 and ask for an ambulance or go straight to A&E if you can.