Debbie Newton knows all too well about the devastating consequences of mental illness.
Her much-loved son Adam Elliott, of Brockwell, was sadly found hanged at his York university accommodation in March. The 18-year-old had written a note expressing an intention to take his life and also stated that he was depressed.
Debbie, who recently set up the Sudden Loss Support Group in Adam’s memory and to help others, had no idea her beloved son was in that state of mind and was going to do what he did.
Backing our campaign, inspirational Debbie, of Chesterfield, said: “Adam was truly precious to us – a son any parent would be proud of.
“He was a normal teenager who worked hard and loved his family very much.
“Adam was a popular young man with an excellent network of friends both in Chesterfield and York where he studied computer science.
“He was in line for a first class degree and life couldn’t have been happier.
“We then received the catastrophic news that he had taken his own life aged just 18.
“This is the type of news you read about and you never for a second believe something like this could happen to you.
“But mental health problems do not discriminate and can affect anyone at any time.
“No one is safe.”
Debbie wants to get more people talking about mental health and end the stigma surrounding it.
She also believes there should be more mental health education in schools, colleges and universities to raise awareness and in turn help save lives.
One of Adam’s many friends, Bethany Cousins, is preparing to take part in a charity skydive in his memory next month.
The 19-year-old, who is fundraising for the Mental Health Foundation, said: “Adam was, without a doubt, the most selfless person any of us could have met.
“He got along with everybody and could walk into any room, crack a joke and put a smile on everybody’s face.
“He was also extremely bright and admirable and I know he is missed by a great amount of people.”
Bethany, who is studying criminology at Leeds Beckett University, added: “I decided to take part in the skydive as for ages I have had personal views on mental health and believe it is such a big issue which is particularly hard to tackle especially with the lack of funding from the Government. Sometimes people don’t realise just how serious it is until unfortunately it’s too late.”
Debbie, 50, added: “We’ve always said that Adam had some wonderful friends – and for Bethany to do this in memory of him gives us great comfort to know that they are still thinking of him. Adam would be proud to call Bethany his friend.
“We wish Bethany luck in her skydive and would like to say a very big thank you to her.”
You can sponsor Bethany HERE.
For more information about the Sudden Loss Support Group, call Debbie on 07495640970 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
‘You are not alone’
According to latest figures, 86 people took their own lives in Derbyshire in 2014
Councillor Dave Allen, Derbyshire County Council’s cabinet member for health and communities, said: “The reasons behind someone taking their life are often complex but in many cases the death may have been prevented if the signs of the distress had been recognised and appropriate support provided.
“The message we want to get out is that you’re not alone. Help, advice and support is out there.”
• The county council says an estimated 96,000 adults in Derbyshire live with a common mental health disorder, which can include depression, phobias, panic attacks and eating disorders
• According to the State of Mental Health in Derbyshire 2015 report, 128,000 adults in
Derbyshire report feeling very anxious
• Estimates suggest there are approximately 3,400 individuals with psychosis in Derbyshire
• 10,100 young people in Derbyshire have a diagnosable mental health condition
• The estimated prevalence of common mental health disorders in Chesterfield is among the highest in Derbyshire at 156.3 per 1,000 population
The Samaritans provides a free, confidential listening service all day, every day, all year. Whatever you’re going through, you can call the helpline on 116 123 or email email@example.com. Visit www.samaritans.org.uk for details about the Samaritans. Mind offers information and advice to people suffering from mental health problems. Call the Mind Infoline on 0300 123 3393 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.mind.org.uk for more information about Mind.