THE former partner of a paranoid schizophrenic who took her own life has urged others with the illness to seek help and support to help deal with suicidal thoughts.
Laureena Rose Hirst, of Frank Peel Close, Heckmondwike, died of an overdose in October last year after struggling with mental health issues for a number of years.
An inquest at Bradford Coroner’s Court returned a verdict of suicide last month.
Her former boyfriend David Crabb, 48, has now paid tribute to Laureena – known as Laura – who was a ‘loving person who always put other people first’.
“Laura was the kind of girl who would have given her last pound coin away to a homeless person on the street. She was very loving and valued honesty,” said David.
“I want her story to be told because it upsets me to think that other people may suffer as I have suffered since losing her in this tragic way.”
Laura, who died aged 46, had been living with the illness since the late 1980s.
David and Laura met in 2002 and began a brief romantic relationship, before developing an enduring friendship.
The pair lived together for eight years.
David said that Laura had often talked about taking her own life, with those feelings intensifying after the death of her mother in 2009.
After briefly sharing a flat together in Heckmondwike, David moved out last May but the pair remained in close contact until just before her death.
David added: “People in this situation should reach out for help, but there are groups out there who help people with mental illness – or even the church can help.
“It’s the sense of belonging and community that is important. Nowadays, I don’t think we have that.
“I’d urge people to take advantage of day centres and activities to develop a social network of their own.
“Maybe the lessons to learn from this tragedy are that all Laura wanted was to be accepted by society for who she was.
“Let’s not jump to judge people and instead try to understand that they need our love and acceptance and support.”