Devon mum urges people to talk about suicide after death of 'vibrant' teen during Covid lockdown

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The mother of a teenage girl from West Devon who took her own life during lockdown has appealed for people to talk more openly about suicide.

Darcy Hollinson was 17 when she died last year. She had suffered with her mental health since she was around 16, but her issues were compounded by lockdown.

Her mum, Debbie Hollinson, told ITV News West Country she believes her daughter would still be here if it were not for the pandemic.

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She said: "She, I think, would have got through this with our support and a little bit of professional support.

"Lockdown was like a bomb going off in her life and so many other people's lives.

"There are things that we should know about mental health. There are things that parents should be taught - things that we should know to look out for. I just wish I'd known a bit more about how I could have kept her safe."

Darcy Hollinson Credit: Hollinson Family

Debbie said Darcy was a vibrant and bright girl who had lots of friends and great plans for the future, making her death even more difficult for her loved-ones to understand.

"You can go in a very short space of time from somebody really vibrant, lively and happy, to someone who struggles," Debbie said.

"The consequences of losing Darcy have been devastating for so many people - and a lot of people have said 'we had no idea that she felt that way'.

"She always was so confident and so sassy and she always looked incredible when she went into school... she always had a really cool outfit on and her makeup was just perfect.

"She was always helping other people. She never asked anyone or let anyone know that she was struggling herself - and then one day she was gone and people have been knocked for six."

Darcy Hollinson Credit: Hollinson family

Debbie and her family have been supported by Papyrus, the Prevention of Young Suicide Charity.

It says every year 200 schoolchildren die through suicide. Suicide is also the biggest killer of people under the age of 35.

Debbie is now calling for more education about the signs to look out for for parents and hopes that by sharing Darcy's story it will encourage others to seek help.

Debbie Hollinson Credit: ITV News Westcountry

Debbie said: "Some of the messages that I've had from young people have been heartbreaking because they have said that reading Darcy's story, and seeing how beautiful and loved she was, has made them realise that it can happen to anybody.

"[They've said] that they have felt low, they've felt suicidal, but they've re-thought how they are going to cope with it, look after themselves, and get help. And a few of them have said that it has saved their life."

On Sunday, Debbie is running with her best friend in Canada in memory of Darcy.

In her home town of Tavistock at least 250 runners will join her to run their own 10k at 2.30pm in Tavistock Meadows for Darcy.

Where to go to get support with your mental health

There are multiple charities, including Mind, who are here to help. Below is a list of a few websites along with phone numbers of different charities who you can talk to. Samaritans also has information how to help people with suicidal thoughts.