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To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, former Newark Advertiser news editor Lucy Millard writes of the death of her daughter Bethan

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, former Advertiser news editor Lucy Millard has written this article about the death of her daughter, Bethan, to encourage others in Bethan’s position to seek help.

As she says: “Writing an article about my daughter’s death was never going to be easy but, when I saw it was Mental Health Awareness Week, I felt it was the right time.

“I would like to think I have written it in the hope that nobody has to experience what my family is going through.

“If I am honest, I have probably written it because in a small way it has helped me.”


My daughter would have been 29 next month. But instead of thinking of birthday celebrations I am planning her funeral.

Bethan had been suffering from anxiety and depression for ten years. She had an experience at university that I believe she never recovered from.

In the early days she received counselling. She wasn’t better but she seemed to be managing.

She loved her job as a receptionist at The Barcode Warehouse in Newark. She always liked to look nice and would put on her high heels, even though she was on her feet all day.

She just wanted her life to be normal.

I believe her mental health took another turn when she was diagnosed with Crohns. She managed her own medication but longed to be free from the never-ending circle of injections.

Stress caused an horrendous rash, which led to blisters. She had to take steroids, which led to more worries.

She thought she was fat ­— she wasn’t­ — but feared they would make her gain weight.

Bethan couldn’t understand why she felt so bad. She used to describe it as having a dread that would not go away.

She was existing on three hours’ sleep because the dread was worse at night.

She felt her medication was not working so reached out. She received some help and her medication was changed but her pain got worse.

I feel she did not get the help she needed.

Bethan killed herself on April 30.

She never saw her niece who was born five days later, bringing some sunshine into our lives.

The baby will be among family and friends at the funeral next month and we will tell her about Bethan when she is older.

Bethan may be gone but she will always be loved and she will never be forgotten.

If you need help, please don’t suffer in silence, call the Samaritans who are there 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for free on 116 123.

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