Had successfully campaigned to get Halloween ‘mental patient’ costumes withdrawn from sale
A mental health campaigner who convinced supermarkets to withdraw offensive Halloween ‘mental patient’ costumes from their stores killed herself at a psychiatric unit, an inquest has found.
Work by Rebecca Luscombe, known as Becki, went national in 2013 when she successfully started a Twitter campaign which resulted in the outfits being taken off supermarket shelves.
The 23 year-old’s crusade also raised substantial donations for mental health charities.
An inquest in Birmingham heard that the former University of Birmingham student, who lived in Selly Oak, suffered from a personality disorder in conjunction with an eating disorder and chronic fatigue.
She was admitted to the Queen Elizabeth hospital after previously trying to taker her own life, before being referred to the Zinnia Centre in Sparkhill for assessment where she was admitted as a voluntary patient for psychiatric therapy.
Coroner Louise Hunt said Miss Luscombe‘s mood at the centre was up and down.
However it was discovered that while at the centre Becki had self harmed and there were two occasions during one night on September 26 when she put her life in danger.
She appeared to have then settled and the following day went for a walk.
But after returning she was later found in her room having hung herself.
The coroner said: “I have had the benefit of reading the letters that Becki and left in her room. They give me a very clear understanding of her intention.”
She returned a verdict of suicide.
Afterwards, in a statement, her family and friends paid tribute to Becki, who had started a music course at the university but had been unable to complete it because of her illness.
It said: “We are heartbroken that Becki, with her eloquence, wit and compassion, has been lost to us in such circumstances. She is irreplaceable.
“At least one in four people will suffer mental illness at some point in their lives and young people are particularly vulnerable.”
Becki became involved in Time to Change, a campaign run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness and in early 2014 was selected to represent Mind as their West Midlands ‘Voice,’ promoting the cause of mental health in the run-up to the general election.
She participated in two of Mind’s videos and in June she and other Voices were invited to a parliamentary meeting at Westminster.
Following her death she was given a posthumous award of ‘Mental Health Hero’ which was presented to her parents Richard and Sue by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
* Anyone in need of emotional support can call the Samaritans at any time of the day or night on 08457 909 090. Details are also available at www.samaritans.org
Credit: Birmingham Mail