Dawn Neesom: ‘Caroline took her own life because of depression, not the media’
There is only reason tragic Caroline Flack decided to take her own life. It’s not the Criminal Prosecution Service, social media trolls or printed magazines and newspapers.
It’s the hideous, terrifying black hole of depression that swallows up your soul and snuffs out any flickering light of hope.
Suicide is not simplistic and playing the dangerous blame game that we all now seem obsessed with is risky beyond belief.
The Love Island host chose to end what must have been horrific mental despair on Saturday. She had been left alone for just a few hours by her best friend who had been by her side for Valentines Day.
Caroline was just 40 years old and had bravely written and spoken about her mental health issues for many years. Even after her brilliant victory on Strictly Come Dancing in 2014 she was plagued by anxiety. She admitted she drank too much to cope because she was a woman who wore her heart on her sleeve.
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Her inquest is due to be opened today (19th Feb) which will mean more newspaper coverage and social media comments. Because, whether those criticising the press like it or not, her story was front page because it IS news.
Anyone in the public eye arrested for assaulting their partner – as Caroline was in a drunken row with her lover Lewis Burton, 27, last December – and the resulting consequences have to be covered. This isn’t hounding or bullying, it’s reporting facts.
Social media has been utterly depressing running the same story. Newspapers and magazines are regulated, Twitter isn’t. And until everyone on all social media platforms are forced to use an actual picture of themselves and their real name it will continue to be an open sewer.
But it’s a necessary evil for celebrity. Caroline was a master at using Instagram to promote herself and her career. She was also genuinely very good friends with many journalists.
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And she would be hating the fact that some of those mates are now being subjected to death threats because they work for a newspaper. Ironically by the very same trolls who are also tweeting Caroline’s personal motto, #BeKind.
Interestingly Caroline’s management haven’t laid any blame on newspapers instead very publicly damning the CPS for pressing ahead with a criminal trial when her boyfriend didn’t want to press charges.
But they were damned if they did, damned if they didn’t.
Domestic violence against both sexes is on the increase and even if the victim refuses to press charges cases can go ahead. This is simply because so many sufferers withdraw complaints under duress from aggressors.
And what about her employers at ITV and reality TV in general? Should Love Island be pulled off the air?
It’s been linked to two other suicides too. No, of course not.
That would be the ultimate insult to it’s bright and beautiful presenter who’d adored the show for the word go. Again the sad deaths of previous contestants Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis are about so much more than one reality show.
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If we’re not careful though the suicide blame game might be responsible for more depression and despair. Caroline’s close friends and family will probably torture themselves for the rest of their lives about whether they could have done more. They couldn’t. No one could.
I had a friend whose husband committed suicide many years ago now. She’d take their two small children to the supermarket on a Saturday morning, come back, opened the front door to the end of all their worlds. Her husband, who had no outward sign of mental health issues, had hung himself in their hallway.
To this day she feels guilty and your heart breaks for her as it now does for Caroline’s family.
So suicide is never a blame game. It’s an awful, tragic, hideous and, sadly, increasing happening.
And though it’s a cliche, there is always someone who can help. Please if you or someone you love is suffering reach out.
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