Heartbreak as university student takes her own life while family is on holiday

A university student took her own life while her family was away on holiday

Beth George had a history of mental health problems but had told her mum, Kathy Hopper, she was the happiest she’d been in years just prior to her death.

The 21-year-old Hull University student spent lockdown in her campus accommodation with her staff nurse mum working on a Covid ward at Hull Royal Infirmary.

But during a trip to seaside town Cleethorpes in Lincolnshire with other daughters, Hannah, 27, and son Corey, 13, on May 16, Kathy received the devastating news Beth had died.

The mum, from Hull, said: “The regret I have now is that I didn’t make her talk and I wasn’t there.

“She hid it so well that I relaxed for the first time, as she’d had her demons, but I thought she was happy. I now realize she hadn’t dealt with them.”

Mum Kathy Hopper was on holiday with daughter Hannah and son Corey when they heard about Beth

On the day she took her own life, Beth told her family she had plans to go to a party with university friends.

Kathy said: “We just got a call from the police, and the officer said she wanted to come and see us.

“We thought Beth had been with a friend, and they were partying. There was just no indication of this at all.

“That was the day our lives just changed. We have been robbed of her future.”

Kathy went on to admit lockdown had made things “really difficult”, with the nurse opting to socially distance from Beth as best she could to keep her safe.

“I feel guilty, but we were abiding by the rules, and she had her friends but I think it had a massive impact,” she continued.

Sister Hannah, who is also a student at Hull studying for a Masters in Criminology, said Beth “wanted so badly to be okay that she pretended she was”.

“I think she just told herself that she was because she wanted to be ‘normal’ at university.”

She said she feels huge regret at not telling Beth more often how much she loved her.

“We should all treat people, every day as if it’s the last time we could see them.”

Hannah added that she also feels guilt at having told Beth they couldn’t see each other in lockdown in an effort to abide by the rules.

Beth moved into her student accommodation in September last year and was completing a foundation course in psychology and criminology.

She had passed an Open University course so that she could be accepted at university. Due to the mental health problems she had missed some of her senior school years.

Hannah said her sister “came out of her shell” at university and had made many new friends.

She explained that Beth had recently come out as gay and said being at university “helped her be more proud of her sexuality”.

Kathy is now encouraging other families to regularly talk about mental health with their children.

She said: “I would say to others in our situation, don’t just think it’s all alright, ask them and ask them. Don’t be scared to bring it up and ask about their mental health.

“Make sure they know you’re there to listen. It’s OK to not be OK. People must not feel ashamed about mental health and then end up not talking about it.”

Hull University has granted Beth an Aegrotat award – when a candidate is prevented by circumstances from completing the course but is still recognized as being likely to have graduated successfully if they’d been able to.

A spokesman said the university is “deeply saddened” by the tragic news.

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