Teen Struggled With Body Image, Self Esteem Before Committing Suicide

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades

Harriet Walsh’s mother found her hanging in the family’s Belmont, England, home on April 17. The 17-year-old animal care student later died at Royal Bolton Hospital.

This week an inquest heard that Walsh struggled with self-esteem and mental health issues, Mirror reported.

After she began struggling to control her temper and self-harming, Walsh was referred to Children and Adults Mental Health Service. She was released from in-patient mental health treatment two weeks before she committed suicide, despite having overdosed on paracetamol and ibuprofen mixed with Bacardi.

Claire Robinson, Walsh’s mother, said her daughter had been troubled for some time. "Body image was a big thing for Harriet. People would say she was fat and ugly,” she told Blackburn Coroners Court, according to Mirror. "It probably stemmed from name-calling at school, but you have to look at TV and magazine images as well.

"She always said she was fat, and the week before I said: 'You're not; you've lost too much weight.’"

Carl Cunliffe, Walsh’s on-again-off-again boyfriend of seven months, told the court that she confided her self-doubt in him. “I went 'round and spent every weekend with her, but then I went to see a couple of friends before I went to see her.

"She said she felt second-best with her mum and now me, and it got to the point where she said, 'Don't speak to me.' She felt like her mum always favorited her sister, Emily, and Emily could do no wrong."

Robinson told the court: "We had our ups and down ... it's only the last few years that she's become very angry. She wasn't as a child.

"If someone let her down or if I said no to her, she would fly off the handle. She would throw things, slam doors, just like a normal teenager.

"She still had all these problems inside her head when she was discharged."

Coroner Michael Singleton ruled the death a suicide. "Harriet presents to me as a troubled young lady, somebody that had issues that related to anger and she was unable to express and deal with properly despite the help she was given,” he told the court.

Walsh was a student at Myerscough College, and a school spokesperson told The Bolton News that she was a dedicated student. “Harriet was a valued member of our community and will be sadly missed … Her tragic death has come as a real shock to everyone at Myerscough,” he said.

Sources: Lancshire Telegraph, Mirror, The Bolton News Image via Mirror