JESSICA Davies was a beautiful, intelligent, caring young woman who was doing well at work, was dearly loved and had her whole future ahead of her.
But on August 21 she went home to her flat in Wyndham Road, Salisbury, and hanged herself. She was just 25 years old.
Now her family have spoken out about the little-known mental illness that Miss Davies suffered from, and have called for more to be done to prevent other families going through what they have.
Miss Davies’ mother Cathyln Morton said: “Jessica was a bright, caring and sweet young woman who we were so proud of. She was intelligent and articulate and she was a joy to be with and we loved her so very much.”
Miss Davies grew up in Tidworth and Ludgershall with her mother, father Lyn, and three older sisters, Joanne, Emma and Rhea.
She was the youngest child by seven years and her sisters doted on her.
“She was worshipped and adored, and she was a contented, happy little girl,” said Mrs Morton, a social worker.
Miss Davies went to Castle Primary School in Ludgershall then to John Hanson in Andover, where she was a good student who was popular and had lots of friends.
It wasn’t until she was in her late teens that her mother began to have serious concerns about her.
Her father died of cancer when she was 17, which hit her hard, and she began to display emotional problems and behaviour including self-harm.
On several occasions she took overdoses.
Her family sought professional help and Miss Davies was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder in 2008.
The characteristics of the illness make it difficult to manage and to treat, for both the patient and medical professionals.
Those with the condition can appear to be perfectly well, and their mood can swing from hopeful optimism in one moment to despair in the next.
Miss Davies had a full-time job as a senior account executive with James Hay in Salisbury, where she was described as “confident in manner and in her role” and as a “valued member of staff”.
She hid the extent of her illness and self-harming behaviour from her family and friends and in the weeks before her death saw various medical professionals who didn’t judge her to be at risk.
She told her GP she had thought about hanging herself and was then seen by Avon and Wiltshire Primary (AWP) Care Liaison Service on August 9 and by AWP’s Lift psychology service on August 16, five days before she died.
She was not judged to be at risk of suicide, but her notes had not been passed from the primary care service to the mental health practitioner at Lift.
An inquest into her death held in Salisbury on Friday heard that Lift is a self-referral service and that it would not have been usual at the time for a patient’s notes to have been passed on.
The hearing heard that this practice has been changed in the wake of Miss Davies’ death.
Mrs Morton said: “Borderline Personality Disorder is difficult to treat, but it can be fatal. This was a 25-year-old girl who wanted help and wanted to get better. The most poignant thing I have found out since she died is that she wrote ‘I won’t survive unless I fix this’.
“As a mother that is heartbreaking. If one thing can come of Jessica’s death we want it to be recognition and support for other people like her.
“In the last weeks of her life Jessica was in crisis and there appeared to be little response to this, except from her GP, and while changes have been made in the light of her death it is a point of great sadness and concern that her death has had to highlight them.”
Borderline Personality Disorder
* One of the most common mental illnesses seen by GPs.
* It is a disorder of mood and interpersonal function.
* It causes overwhelming feelings of distress, anxiety, worthlessness or anger.
* Sufferers have difficulty managing such feelings without selfharming,
for example by abusing drugs and alcohol or taking overdoses.
* They have difficulty maintaining stable and close relationships.
* They can experience periods of loss of contact with reality.
Advice and support on all mental health issues is available from MIND at mind.org.uk or on 0300 1233393.