'Your whole life changes and is never going to be the same again' - Mum bravely speaks out after death of 'beautiful' daughter to highlight mental health issues
Her beautiful daughter Hannah took her own life in January at the age of just 25 after battling to conquer her demons since childhood.
Now, on World Mental Health Day, Louise admits she too is “struggling” after failing to come to terms with her devastating loss.
But she is refusing to seek help through the normal mental health channels because she no longer has faith in the NHS.
“It’s awful,” she said. “Something has got to be done.
“The system isn’t working. I’m not sure whether that is down to the Government, or funding, or training.
“But they need to put funding into training people properly and having the right resources for people who need help there and then.
“The delay getting appointments or getting any help whatsoever is the crux of the problem.
“Really the system just isn’t fit for purpose. That seems to be the main thing I’m hearing from other parents in the same situation.”
Louise prefers not to talk about the circumstances of her daughter’s death. It is still too painful and raw.
She accompanied Hannah to see her GP on January 14 and a referral was made to the mental health services run by Lancashire Care NHS Trust. Seven days later she took her own life.
Hannah was a mum too, with a seven-year-old daughter and a five-year-old son living in Bilsborrow, near Garstang. Now the children have been split up, each living with their respective fathers.
“It’s a bit of a double whammy really,” said Louise. “They see each other, but they don’t live together any more.
“It’s been absolutely devastating for all of us. I’m really struggling myself, but I don’t want to go down the mental health route after what we’ve been through.
“I’ve just been relying on a group called SOBS which stands for Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide. That has brought me into contact with other parents in the same circumstances and it seems to be helping.
“It’s been shocking to see how many people are in that state. And there are new people coming forward online every day. It’s awful.
“We all met up in Wakefield recently and we just sat and talked for hours. It was really helpful. We were just comforting each other because we all know how it feels.
“It is impossible trying to explain to someone. You can’t imagine. Your whole life changes and is never going to be the same again. The shock in your gut is there all the time.”
Hannah was a bright, straight A’s student, who went on to a career in the Prison Service, working at HMP Liverpool.
“She had struggled throughout her life,” explained Louise. “We all knew she had problems. But she always seemed to bounce back.
“Most of the time she seemed fine. She had a good career and used to drive down to work in Liverpool every day.
“She was very much a livewire, one of those people who walked into a room and you knew she was there.
“But she was really struggling towards the end.
"It was heartbreaking.
“We just hope that highlighting her case will help others to seek help if they feel they have a problem. Speak to someone is the message that World Mental Health Day is all about.”
An inquest has yet to be held into Hannah’s death. Meanwhile family have employed specialist medical negligence lawyers to support them.
Solicitor Sarah Sharples, of Irwin Mitchell in Manchester, is representing Louise. She said: “Losing Hannah so suddenly has had a profound effect on Louise and the rest of the family.
“Hannah’s family understandably have concerns regarding her death and they hope that by raising awareness of mental health issues and services, they might prevent any other person from suffering how Hannah did.”