*Content warning- the following story contains reference to suicide
In November 2019, 23-year-old Abby was treated by the crew of Cornwall Air Ambulance for traumatic injuries following a suicide attempt. In support of Mental Health Awareness Week, Abby tells her story here in her own words:
“When I was a teenager I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, a part of this is emotional dysregulation- which means I find it difficult to manage my emotions. I feel things very intensely and for longer than other people might. This can lead to risky or impulsive behaviour.
“In the week leading up to the incident I had dissociation, I didn’t eat or drink much, I don’t remember what was going through my head at the time, but I wasn’t in a good place. I have no memory from that day, but I’ve since learnt that the police found me in a courtyard with significant injuries from a fall from height.”
Critical care paramedics from Cornwall Air Ambulance were tasked to help Abby who had life-threatening injuries. She suffered a broken pelvis, back, neck, ankle and a brain injury in the fall. They stabilised Abby and she was airlifted from Redruth to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth.
Abby spent two weeks in a coma. Following several operations, she was transferred to a rehabilitation centre to aid with her recovery.
She said: “I did regret doing it. It scares me to think I am capable of doing something like that. I feel thankful, I was so close to dying, but it wasn’t my time to go, I feel like I’ve been given a second chance. I literally cannot thank the crew enough for all they did for me that day. I am getting the right support and I feel very positive about the future.
“Generally people like to think there is less of a stigma around mental health, but when you experience it yourself you realise there is still a lot of stigma. Things are moving in the right direction, but there is a lot more work to do for mental health to be treated equally as physical health.
“I plucked up the courage to go to my doctor when I was 17. It was one of the scariest things I’ve ever had to do, but I’m so glad I did it because that’s when I started getting the help I needed. I was referred to the community mental health team and have been with them ever since. I have a great community psychiatric nurse for support and access the Samaritans and the SHOUT crisis message service when I’m really struggling. I would encourage others to ask for help, both of those are great support services.”
Since her incident, Abby has been able to return to work. She recently walked over 60 miles- the distance of her flight in the Cornwall Air Ambulance helicopter- to raise money for the charity.
Where to get support for mental health
- If you, or someone you know, are at immediate risk of harming themselves or others, ring 999
- There is a new 24/7 NHS local urgent mental health response phone line. Its free to access by anyone, any age on 0800 038 5300.
Out of Hours support
Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust provides a telephone helpline through Support Matters Cornwall. Out of hours support is available from 5.00pm to 9.00am on weekdays and 24 hours a day at weekends and bank holidays. The service is open to all people aged 16+ under the care of Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s mental health services. You can call free on 0800 001 4330. Support can be delivered over the telephone, via text, email or web chat.
You can download the Support Matters Cornwall Leaflet.
Someone to talk to
The Samaritans offer emotional support and a listening ear 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Free UK Telephone Number: 116 123
Mind operates an Information Line which provides information on types of mental health problem, where to get help, medication and alternative treatments and advocacy. It operates from 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday (except Bank Holidays)
- 0300 123 3393
- Or text 86463
SANE provide emotional support and specialist information to anyone affected by mental health problems. Their SANE Line operates from 4.30pm to 10.30pm every day of the year: Call 0300 304 7000
SHOUT – a new 24/7 text service for anyone who is in a crisis you can text 85258
Childline (for anyone under 19) free to call 0800 1111
Papyrus (for people under 35) 0800 068 4141 (Mon-Fri 10am-10pm Sat-Sun 2pm-10pm and bank holidays 2pm–5pm) or text 07786 209 697
Side by Side is an online, supportive community provided by Mind
Rethink have an Advice Phone Line – 0300 5000 927 which is available Monday to Friday – 09.30am to 4pm (except Bank Holidays)
Mindline Trans+ is a confidential, mental health support helpline for people who identify as Trans, Agender, Gender Fluid, Non-binary and also supports family members and friends and provides signposting to other services and resources. Call 0300 330 5468