Final despairing words of mum before she took own life

Helen Ramsbottom
Helen Ramsbottom
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A MUM-OF-TWO left a heartbreaking suicide note for her husband and children which read: “I don’t want to live my life being a burden to others” before taking her own life at a Sheffield beauty spot after battling severe depression.

Helen Ramsbottom, aged 50, of Carfield Lane, Meersbrook, went missing on Sunday after telling her family she was going for a walk.

She was found dead on Monday in the Mayfield Valley, having taken an overdose of sleeping tablets.

Helen, a former nurse and charity worker who until recently ran a cattery with husband Jeremy, also 50, wrote the tragic message in a notebook discovered next to her body.

“I’m so sorry I can’t live with the depression, I’m not getting any better, and cannot face going back to the hospital time and time again,” she wrote in the letter, addressed to Jeremy and their children Hannah, 21, and Jonathan, 18.

“I cannot live with myself and my life has little purpose. I don’t want to live my life being a burden to others. I can’t cope with life and all its responsibilities - you shall have to forgive me for being such a coward.”

Jeremy told The Star his wife of 25 years had attempted suicide in the past, but he had “no idea” she would try to kill herself on the day she disappeared.

“I just thought she was going for a nice walk,” he said. “She’s often gone for a walk when she’s really depressed.”

Helen, a lifelong sufferer of depression, had just spent eight weeks as an inpatient on the Northern General Hospital’s Maple Ward, and was hospitalised numerous times since her condition worsened 14 years ago.

“She felt she wasn’t getting any better, but was getting worse. Over the last two to three weeks, we’d had many discussions where she would say, ‘I just want peace, I’m causing too much pain to people’.

“She’d also tried to kill herself three or four times in desperation over the years. She was trying to find something that worked and she succeeded.”

Jeremy said Helen had been ‘quite depressed’ on Saturday, but seemed much brighter when she got up on Sunday.

“She told me she wanted to go for a walk to clear her head - but that was obviously not true,” Jeremy said.

He said he prepared her a picnic and Helen also took a bottle of red wine with her.

“Hannah had made some homemade scotch eggs, and I put some bread and butter and chocolate biscuits in for her. We weren’t even worried.

“She walked down to the Mayfield Valley, just up from Millhouses Animal Sanctuary, found a peaceful place, and put a blanket down and ate the picnic. “She took the tablets that she’d taken with her - that we didn’t know about - and drank the wine, and basically just laid there and went to sleep, finding the peace she had craved for years.”

Helen had built up a secret stash of sleeping tablets, prescribed for her depression, Jeremy added.

The family became concerned when Helen didn’t return home in time for a barbecue planned for the evening. Her body was found by the police helicopter at around 3.15pm on Monday.

Jeremy said he did not think Helen’s suicide was a ‘selfish act’.

“Everybody views suicide as a very selfish act, an act of somebody that does not care about their family and the people that they have left behind. Often this is not the case. Suicide can be the act of a deeply caring and loving person, who just wants to bring their own pain and suffering and that of their family to an end.

“Grief is a very selfish emotion. We grieve because of our loss, and that doesn’t take into account what’s best for the person involved that we’re grieving. “My prayer on Sunday was not, ‘Dear God, I hope they find her alive’ - my prayer was, ‘Dear God, just bring Helen the peace she needs’.

“I would rather that peace have been with Helen by my side for another 25 years, but that wasn’t to be.”

ACCESS SUPPORT FOR MENTAL HEALTH

* People battling mental illness can access the support of the Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, which runs services in the city.

* Initially patients should contact their GP practice for a referral. If it is out of hours people can call their usual GP number which will put them through to a clinician who can offer advice over the telephone or arrange an urgent appointment or home visit.

* NHS Direct on 0845 4647 can also offer advice and is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

* In the event of an emergency situation where someone is in immediate risk of serious harm or injury, people should call 999. The A&E department at the Northern General Hospital is open 24 hours a day every day of the year. Psychiatric services can be accessed via A&E during normal hours and the Crisis Resolution Home Treatment Team out of hours.

* If you are suicidal and want to talk in confidence The Samaritans can be contacted on 0114 276 7277 or 08457 90 90 90.

* Alternatively visit www.nhs.uk/livewell/mentalhealth/pages/helplines.aspx for a directory of helplines.

* Visit www.sct.nhs.uk/about-us/i-need-help for more information.