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If Chloe had the right support she might still be with us

Trigger warning: this post refers to suicide and self-harm

Trevor describes the heartbreaking experience of losing his daughter to suicide, and why he’ll never stop campaigning on mental health.

I was on a military exercise in the Arizona desert when my world fell apart.

On 30th April 2014 I was told my 19 year old daughter, Chloe Rose, had taken her own life. Her body was found in her flat in Haverfordwest in Wales where she lived alone, as I was based in Suffolk in the military.

Chloe was a beautiful, intelligent girl, but she’d been struggling with mental health problems from a very young age.

She’d been referred to CAMHS (Child Adolescent Mental Health Services) but on reading her files after her death, I understood she didn’t fully open up to her councillors and on occasions didn't attend appointments.

The heartbreaking thing for myself is that most of her problems were unknown to me. Chloe moved to Wales with her mother when we separated and so much of my life was taken up by the army.

I know now that she had periods of self-harm and struggled to talk about her issues. And yet, I'm a firm believer that with the right support I think we could have prevented her from causing herself harm and given her the confidence to talk about her problems.

In these three years since Chloe’s death, I’ve put myself through lots of research and question-asking. I have come to the conclusion that Chloe just didn't think there was another option other than suicide – the pressures of struggles with school, bullying, self-harming and also her eating (as she was only six stone when she died) were too much. I also admit that not having her dad around could have played a part, and this… I find very difficult to come to terms with.

I have since suffered from depression and anxiety. I'm now taking antidepressants which I've needed to help me through my life and working day and I’ve turned to church to help me with forgiving.

I'm certain if the professional support which came into contact with Chloe had better understanding about mental illness through research, and had taken things more seriously, she might still be with us.

I'm now working so hard to raise awareness and support for mental health, running my own mental health social media awareness page and other campaigns. I hope that by supporting the work of MQ we’ll be able to give the people who are suffering from mental health issues the best support and help they deserve.

We all have been uneducated for too long, just guessing at answers to questions about mental health – but now we have the opportunity to make a difference.

I am dedicating my life to making the right changes happen. I never want a young person to go through the same horrendous experience Chloe did.

The pain for myself and her family left behind is indescribable and traumatic. 

I'll never be the same person, my wife always says to me the real me never returned from America, and I left my shattered heart in the desert. But I'm determined to fight for the cause and to support MQ so we can create a safer community. 

Some say I obsess about my mental health campaigning as I'm always on the go, but maybe if I, and others, did this three years ago I would still have a beautiful daughter – to see get married, hear her voice and to cuddle when she needed me most. 

If you are struggling with your own mental health or have been affected by this story, please take a look at the organisations listed on our website

Last updated: 5 June 2017

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