Laura Tinsley tragically took her life after struggling with depression – but her dad said she may still be alive weren’t it for Covid
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An "enchanting" young woman who struggled with her mental health for years took her own life in what her dad said may have been "collateral damage" from Covid.
Liverpool Hope University student Lydia Tinsley, 25, was found dead in her accommodation on St Michael's Road, Aigburth, on April 19 this year.
An inquest into her death at Gerard Majella Courthouse in Kirkdale, heard how "highly intelligent" Lydia, from Bristol, had struggled with opioid addiction in her teenage years and had battled depression, the Liverpool Echo reports.
The court heard Lydia had travelled to Liverpool in October 2020 to study Philosophy and International Relations, after spending seven months at home with her family.
Addressing the court via video link from Bristol, her brother Jon said: "She was a really bubbly, enchanting person.
"On her best days she really would light up the room. She was clearly very intelligent as well, she loved reading and studying English, and she loved life when life was good for her.
Lydia said lockdown is 'destroying me' before she tragically took her life in April
"As my twin sister she helped me through much. She will always be a part of me, forever. I love her so deeply and always will."
Area coroner for Liverpool and Wirral, Anita Bhardwaj, said a handwritten note had been found at the scene "clearly indicating" that she intended to take her own life.
The inquest heard a second piece of writing was found at the family home in Bristol where she had lived with her twin brother Jon Tinsley, dad Ian and mum Victoria, which had been written almost exactly a year earlier on April 24, 2020.
At that time she referred to lockdown "destroying me."
Jon said his sister was "clearly going through a very difficult battle" and had struggled with the enforced isolation of lockdown.
But he said: "She came out of her first year in uni with top grades, that just shows how strong and resilient she was, still giving it her all."
Lydia's dad Ian, fighting back tears, told the court: "I loved talking with her about politics and philosophy. When she was on form she was an absolute delight."
He described the arrival of covid and lockdown as having a "deep impact" on Lydia, and with her mental health under pressure he believed his daughter feared going back to the "very dark place" of her late teens when she struggled with drug addiction.
Ian said: "I almost describe it as collateral damage from covid, because I think without it she may still be here."
The Liverpool Hope University student was found dead in her accommodation on St Michael's Road, Aigburth, on April 19 this year
Lydia's mum Victoria said: "She had always been a very good reader, she was exceptionally well read.
"When we packed her room up, she had so many books and they were a joy to look at.
"She was always very much loved and she will be greatly missed."
The court heard how Lydia had responded well to support provided by a Bristol charity called One25, but had not been able to find help as effective after her move to Merseyside.
A fundraiser started by her family after her death has so far raised more than £3,100 for One25, which was singled out for praise during the inquest.
Coroner's officer Jacqui Gallagher, reading a summary of the evidence, described how Lydia had attended a barbecue the day before her death and was described as seeming in good spirits.
Mental health support
Helplines and support groups
The following are helplines and support networks for people to talk to, mostly listed on the NHS Choices website
- Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you're feeling, or if you're worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at [email protected]
- PANDAS (0808 1961 776) runs a free helpline and offers a support service for people who may be suffering with perinatal mental illness, including prenatal (antenatal) and postnatal depression plus support for their family or network.
- Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won't show up on your phone bill.
- PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is an organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
- Mind (0300 123 3393) is a charity providing advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.
- Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts.
- Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying.
Amparo provides emotional and practical support for anyone who has been affected by a suicide. This includes dealing with police and coroners; helping with media enquiries; preparing for and attending an inquest and helping to access other, appropriate, local support services. Call 0330 088 9255 or visit www.amparo.org.uk for more details.
- Hub of Hope is the UK’s most comprehensive national mental health support database. Download the free app, visit hubofhope.co.uk or text HOPE to 85258 to find relevant services near you.
- Young Persons Advisory Service – Providing mental health and emotional wellbeing services for Liverpool’s children, young people and families. tel: 0151 707 1025 email: [email protected]
- Paul's Place – providing free counselling and group sessions to anyone living in Merseyside who has lost a family member or friend to suicide. Tel: 0151 226 0696 or email: [email protected]
The Martin Gallier Project – offering face to face support for individuals considering suicide and their families. Opening hours 9.30-16.30, 7 days a week. Tel: 0151 644 0294 email: [email protected]
Ms Gallagher said her flatmate saw her when she got home, and was told by Lydia she planned to spend the following day in bed relaxing and watching TV.
However on the evening of April 19, her brother contacted staff at her halls of residence concerned that he had not heard from her all day.
A student welfare officer knocked on her door shortly after 5pm, and after receiving no reply found it was unlocked and entered her room.
Lydia was in bed and was unresponsive, and efforts by both staff and paramedics to resuscitate her were unsuccessful.
Merseyside Police concluded there were no suspicious circumstances, and following a post-mortem exam and toxicology tests the medical cause of death was given as methadone toxicity.
Ms Bhardwaj said: "I am going to use your words, Jon, Lydia was a bubbly and enchanting woman. That's exactly what I have as a vision of her in my mind.
"She was clearly someone who was very articulate as her notes indicate, and she was someone who enjoyed life but who also had her own demons."
Ms Bhardwaj gave a conclusion of death by suicide.
As the inquest closed, her dad told the hearing: "She will always be with us."
Anyone wishing to donate to the fundraiser can do so here.
If you're struggling and need to talk, the Samaritans operate a free helpline open 24/7 on 116 123. Alternatively, you can email [email protected] or visit their site to find your local branch