A CRISIS-hit mental health trust has apologised after a staff member made "misjudged and insensitive" comments on social media following the death of an inpatient.

The Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, which runs mental health services across County Durham, Teesside and North Yorkshire, came under fire following the death of Zoe Zaremba.

The 25-year-old died while under the trust's care last month, following on from the death of four inpatients Christie Harnett, Nadia Sharif, Emily Moore and Jadzia Todd since last year.

But trust bosses have apologised after a member of staff took to social media, which prompted a backlash from people across social media including former patients.

Part of the social media post said: "Why is it that mental health services get so much press and anything that is ever posted on the news about a death in service, or the service has caused a death, or failed a person."

The post continued and said: "But sometimes mental illness can kill a person, just like a physical illness. Not everyone survives. It's devastating.

"Bad stuff happens and it sometimes can't be helped just like everything in life," the post added.

But online, the staff member was slammed with some calling it "disgusting" and an "insult" to the family of those died under the trust's care. 

David Levy, director of human resources and organisational development at Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, said the trust was now investigating complaints made.

He said: “We are incredibly sorry to everyone who has been affected by this.

“A member of our staff made a mistake that has caused distress to a number of people because of their comments on social media. The comments were misjudged and insensitive.

“The member of staff deeply regrets what they wrote and wanted to say sorry for their comments.

“We expect all of our staff to demonstrate our Trust values and behaviours at all times – and this includes on social media.

"We take concerns about the behaviour of our staff very seriously and we will investigate this complaint further.

“We are also working to support staff who use social media and help them understand the wider implications of talking about their work in a public space, what is acceptable and the potential impact that comments can have on the people reading them.”

It comes as Ms Zaremba's mother, Jean Zaremba told the BBC's Look North that she believed the trust had failed her.

Earlier this month, she told the evening TV programme: "The worst thing Zoe ever did was go to mental health and ask for help because it's killed her.

"Mental health didn't seem to understand the autism and they put her on a protocol for a condition she did not have."

"That protocol kills autistic people, what is damaging is the way that staff treat you when you have that diagnosis. Constantly putting you down and knocking your self esteem.

"They turn it round and say it's your perception, your expectations are too high, it's your fault, it's the way you behave, and they always turn it round and blame the patient.

"They don't question their own perceptions, the fact they may have it wrong, they just don't listen to you."

In response to Ms Zaremba's death, Elizabeth Moody, Director of Nursing and Governance at Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I was very sorry to hear about Zoe’s tragic death.

"My thoughts are with Zoe’s family and friends at this incredibly difficult and distressing time.

“I am sorry but we are unable to provide a response to all of the issues raised at this time as we will be carrying out a review of Zoe’s care and treatment.

"An important part of this will be to listen to concerns raised around her diagnosis, her experience of our care and how we could have improved this.

“We have been in touch with Zoe’s family and we would very much encourage them to speak to us about these serious concerns in more detail.”