Loss of ‘gifted’ Janet spurs a call for change
Bereaved friend wants to raise awareness of suicide risk
A MAN who lost a friend to suicide is using her story to raise awareness of issues surrounding mental health.
Andrew Samuels was moved by the sad death of Janet Deardon, who took her own life aged 40 in July 2014, leaving behind three children, after suffering a history of depression.
She lived in Hayes but had fled to the Hammersmith and Fulham area to escape an abusive relationship and met Andrew there.
He told the Gazette: “Janet was a warm and friendly person. If she saw someone else who needed help or needed something she would give it.
“Because of her personality she had this ability to reach out to people. She would talk to people and immediately they would feel comfortable with her. It was wonderful to watch, she was gifted in that way and a real loss because of that.
“She wanted to get out of her mental health problems so she could help other people.”
Mr Samuels said meeting Janet had inspired him to change careers, from an IT manager to helping at Hillingdon Mind, which is part of the National Association for Mental Health charity.
He said social services took Janet’s son at the same time she was hospitalised for treatment, prior to her death.
“People with mental health problems hide their problems,” he added. “They’re very good at putting up a front and keeping things private.
“Unfortunately that’s the worst thing you can do because you do need to talk to people and you need to share.
“Janet went to get help at the hospital and they actually turned her away and sent her home.
“When she asked for her son back that same morning they said no. So one of the only supports she had was taken away from her.
“From that point her decline was huge. She was a strong individual at that time, and I watched her fall from that height.
“People about to commit suicide show patterns of behaviour and one of them is withdrawing from services, because that’s when they make the decision that they’re going to do it. They make plans.
“When she withdrew from services, with her history, they just accepted it. That should have been the red light.”
Mr Samuels now hopes to call on MPs to make changes to policy on mental health and continue his work raising awareness of the issues surrounding mental health.
Janet’s death was ruled as suicide following an inquest at the West London Coroner’s Court which concluded on January 27.
Hillingdon Mind can be contacted on 01895 271559.