The devastated father of a 19-year-old girl who took her own life said he will never get over the loss of his beloved daughter.
While 19-year-old Emily Owen lay in intensive care, following an attempt to take her own life, dad Tim Owen discovered a letter written by the teen.
In the note, Emily begged her family to "not be ashamed" of her actions, as reported by the Mirror.
"I don’t mind people knowing about what happened to me if it will help them before it’s too late" she also wrote.
Sadly Emily died soon after and while Tim will never get over the loss of his daughter, who he described as the "life and soul" of the family, her final words have spurred him on.
The 51-year-old has spoken out about his daughter’s story today for World Mental Health Day.
Tim explained that he believed had it not been for the pandemic and lockdown Emily would still be with him.
He said: "Lockdown was the straw that broke the camel’s back for Emily. I’m convinced if it hadn’t been for the pandemic, she would still be with us."
An inquest heard Emily was happily working in her local pub in Shouldham, Norfolk – then her mood changed as coronavirus took its grip in March 2020.
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Tim says: "She became full of worry at news of the pandemic. We had family members in Italy, where it was initially really bad. She began to feel as if her world was closing in and found it overwhelming."
Emily had suffered from mental health issues, including anxiety, for several years. A late diagnosis of high-functioning autism at the age of 16 had proved a "relief" and she began to make plans for the future.
A few days before a partial lockdown on March 16, Tim’s household went into their own quarantine as some family members had developed coughs, a Covid symptom. Emily became "very, very agitated".
Tim adds: "She’d started worrying about her job. The freedom of being able to do things she loved seemed to be being taken away. It seemed to her like the pandemic was going to ruin her life and she was completely unable to cope.
"If she’d talked to somebody such as a professional, I’m sure she’d have been able to pull herself back from the brink. For a lot of teenagers, it was frightening. Catching Covid wasn’t her biggest risk – mental health repercussions were."
Chief executive of PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide Ged Flynn says: "While there is no reliable, statistical evidence of a link between lockdown and an increase in suicide, we know more young people were feeling lonely, distressed and struggling to cope. It is important young people know they are not alone and help is available."
For emotional support, you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email email@example.com, visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.
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