Heartbreak after woman, 23, took her own life after pandemic ‘took away purpose’

A heartbroken mum has paid a touching tribute to her "people person" daughter, who tragically took her own life after “losing her purpose” during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Jodi Walsham suffered from deteriorating mental health after she had two job offers withdrawn in successive lockdowns and found herself "in a very bad place" in January this year.

The 23-year-old had suffered from anxiety since childhood, but according to mum Jayne, was at her best when she had structure and a goal, ChronicleLive reports.

"If she was helping people she had a purpose in life, and Covid took that away," Janye said.

Born in Hexham, Northumberland, and raised just over five miles away in the village of Humshaugh, Jodi attended Queen Elizabeth High School before going to the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) in 2018 to study community drama and applied theatre.

The talented singer went travelling to Vietnam after graduating, before returning home to embark on the next phase of her life.

Jayne said: "All Jodi ever really wanted to do was help people – that was her passion.

"Her course at uni was all about bringing drama to the community, so it would have to have been something like that."

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After returning from Vietnam, Jodi was offered a mentoring job at a school. The role was due to start last September but was withdrawn when the pandemic hit.

Jodi then moved to Glasgow in December when she was offered a job, but when the next lockdown was announced, that job was withdrawn as well.

Jayne said: "The day before [she died], her friend phoned me to say she thought Jodi needed to come home for a few days.

"In the background, I could hear Jodi saying ‘no’, but I arranged with her friend that we would meet halfway in Carlisle.

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"I FaceTimed Jodi and said everything was going to be fine, that we would get her home, even if it was just for a few days.

"She went so calm and said, 'Okay mum, I’ll just put a few things in a bag'.

"With hindsight, I think she decided in that moment, but that night was the first time in years that I slept because when I spoke to her she was so convincing."

Before Jayne could get to Carlisle to pick up her daughter, she received a phone call at 6am from Jodi’s friend, saying she had taken her own life.

The devastated mum says an investigation is currently underway into whether Jodi got the mental health support she needed.

Jodi was visited by a member of the crisis team last October after taking an overdose.

Jayne said: "She was so positive when he left. But the weeks went by and there was nothing more. By that time she was back down again. It’s the continuity of it that didn’t happen.

"What annoys me is I’ve been offered counselling since she died – it was Jodi who needed help, not me."

She added: "Covid was a massive part in this – she needed structure and a purpose in life – if she was helping people or had a job, she could cope."

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Paying tribute to her daughter, Jayne said: "She made friends wherever she went, she was a people person.

"When she worked at the Beatles cafe in Liverpool, she would sneak out the leftover food and give it to the homeless people on the docks.

"Ever since she was little, she would never stick up for herself but she would stick up for people.

"She had so much to give."

For emotional support, you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.

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