The family of suicide victim Louise Wright speak out
In issue 4 of Uncovered magazine we reported on the tragic loss of Louise Wright, after a life-long battle with mental illness, recently diagnosed as BPD told in the words of her loving fiancé Danielle McColm: Her full story can be read here.
As with every tragic death, Louise leaves behind many who will feel her loss and in response to our feature Louise’s family have been in touch, to further support our call for better awareness of BPD. We, and they, hope that by telling their side we can all further understand the difficulties faced by families of those with mental illness and see what support is needed to stop tragedies like this happening again.
A family's battle
Neil Wright, Louise’s father tells us: ‘I would like to express my feelings and concerns as to how the mental health support system in this country is seriously letting people down. On the 28th of February this year I lost my daughter, I believe this is because her condition and threats of suicide were not taken seriously. My daughter Louise was just 26 years old when she lost her battle with mental illness.’
Louise’s problems started at a young age, she was originally diagnosed with ADHD, however as she grew her behaviours became more serious and concerning. Neil remembers ‘Louise would constantly run away and had no perception of danger, as she started to get older the pattern got worse and she would attempt overdoses, then began the self harming.’ He remembers that help even then was not forthcoming and the family fought hard to be heard. There was no help for the family either, ‘We needed help too’, says Neil.
As a parent it is horrific to watch your child battle with such afflictions, Neil describes how the medications changed but none seemed to do any good. Counselling too was never up to much, he recalls ‘We have attended lots of counselling meetings with Louise but this just seemed to make her worse, she has had a life long battle to try and get people to believe her problems, as so many believed she was just seeking attention.’ Unfortunately this is especially commonly reported in those with BPD.
Louise did have more stable spells where there seemed to be hope ‘we have so many happy memories of holidays and birthday parties, days out and just fun times in general, Louise was a real family person and being around us all meant everything to her.’ These memories are solace to Neil and the family, but little compensation for their loss.
Up's and downs
After moving to Poole in 2004 to be with her family Louise seemed to stabilise and the family enjoyed many happy times with her, however as before, Louise’s condition did not remain this way and in 2005 she found herself as an inpatient for 12 months in the local secure care facility where she was diagnosed with BPD in the May of that year.
Neil recalls ‘when Louise was discharged she seemed to improve’. Louise’s life for a time seemed more secure, she even had her own place, but even then the support from the professionals was not enough.
Lack of support for all
The difficulties faced by the family and more recently by Danielle did not stop, and even when ‘stable’ Louise’s condition brought difficulties. She needed constant love and support. Both Neil and Danielle have said what little help they received as carers, with Danielle admitting ‘one time Louise was discharged after an overdose into my care,’ as she was into her fathers care on numerous occasions, Daniele recalls thinking ‘yes I love her but who am I? I am not qualified to deal with this, the support from the professionals just was not enough.’
Even with the care of her family, her new love and her friends, Louise’s condition meant she needed more support than loved ones alone could provide. Plagued with insomnia, hearing voices and paranoia, Neil recalls telephone calls from Louise at 4 and 5am. ‘All Louise wanted was for people to believe her condition, to treat her with the respect she deserved, but sadly she never found the help she so needed, now my life will never be the same again.’
The final fight
Neil tells us ‘on the 17th of February my daughter Louise had to admit herself into Fortson clinic as she was told they would not take her unless it was voluntary,’ He tells us of the prejudice he feels she suffered ‘some of the staff seemed to think she was just attention seeking, how wrong were they?’
‘After deciding to put Louise on a 72hr section they were going to release her on the Wednesday, I decided to contact the clinic and voice my concerns that Louise was very unstable and needed to be constantly monitored, after I spoke with them they put her on a 28 day section two.’
During this time Louise’s tragic death took place. ‘She was meant to be on 15 min suicide watch so how did she manage to do to herself what she did? We have been told that she was not breathing for 15 minutes when she was found, how is this possible?’ Neil asks.
‘All her life Louise was palmed off and never fully supported, it was a constant quest that all who loved Louise battled for but never won. We hope that her death may be a call to action so that those with the power to make changes do, and people see others like my daughter for all they are, not just the illness they have.’
It is clear many questions need to be answered and in response to our previous article a spokesperson for NHS Dorset said: “We are unable to comment on individual cases, however we can confirm we are undertaking an investigation and will be meeting with members of Louise’s family to share our findings and to respond to the formal complaint”.
A personal goodbye
‘Louise you will be missed every minute of every day, love you always and forever Dad, Keith, Donna, Josh, Joshua, Damon, Tanya and Jessica’
Our condolences go out to Louise Wrights family, fiance and friends at this time.
The NHS Dorset Customer Care Team can be contacted on 01305 368914. Issued by NHS Dorset communications team
If you have a story you think we should know about please get in touch, help us give a voice to those who for too long have been silenced. Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and a member of our team will be in touch.
Further help on Borderline Personality Disorder
We hope you have found this information useful, please also see
If you, or someone you know is suffering BPD, Emergence Plus is a useful organisation that may be able to help you.
You may also like to read Kayla Kavanagh's blog about her personal struggles with BPD here.