In another powerful piece of journalism, David Powles, Investigations Editor of the EDP, writes:
At 26 years old, Jacqueline Boulton had so much to live for.
Talented, caring, funny, intelligent – and so very loved by her family and friends.
But her infectious smile masked the chronic depression which she suffered for so many years and which ultimately ended her life.
Today, her family told the story of their daughter’s battle with mental illness with the hope of helping others enduring a similar ordeal.
It comes as we launch our new Mental Heath Watch campaign, in honour of Jacqui and the many more who suffer just like her. It aims to help end the stigma around the problem, raise awareness and fight for better treatment in the region.
Speaking from the family home in Lowestoft, Mr Boulton, said: “If just one youngster and family is saved, us speaking out and telling our story will be worth the pain of the telling.
An increasing number of people suffer from mental health issues and it can affect one in four people in their lifetime.
In Norfolk and Suffolk, the number of cases referred to the region’s health trust has soared, with children increasingly affected.
In spite of this, funding from the government is lacking compared to other areas of the health sector.
Over the next few weeks we will put the spotlight on each key issue as part of our mental health manifesto.
Although they have no criticism of the treatment Jacqui received, the family feels mental health care needs increased funding to involve parents more and that, at critical times and in certain circumstances, confidentiality may need to be breached.
They said the benefits would be two-fold: the therapist could advise on how to best deal with situations and what best to say and not say, while the therapists could also gain a better understanding and perception of the parents themselves.
Mr Boulton explained: “If we’d have known how seriously ill and at risk she was, we would never have left her alone, which we did for 10 days. We would have made sure one of us was there for her.”
He added: “We now know that Jacqui felt like she was a burden to us, which was just the opposite of reality. She has left such a large hole in our family which we know will never be filled.”
A memorial website set up to raise money for two charities specialising in mental health care has already raised more than £3,000.
The ‘Memorial to Jacqueline Boulton’ page also contains dozens of tributes to the 26-year-old from her friends and family.
The family hopes it will help raise vital funds for both The Samaritans and Rethink Mental Illness.
To make a donation visit jacquelinekay.boulton.muchloved.com
Call The Samaritans on 116 123.
Log onto rethink.org/home for more on Rethink Mental Health.
Please donate to the charity appeal. The Samaritans, in particular, do wonderful work.
The local media has been vitally important to our campaign, as it was at Mid Staffs: it is, together with the now-threatened Freedom of Information Act, one of the few ways to bypass the NHS Blame Game and get the attention of those at Westminster and Whitehall. Click on the image below to read the story in full on the EDP website or, even better, buy a copy of the newspaper: