What have we learned from Caroline Flack's tragic death?
Updated: Mar 4
Caroline Flack was a well known English television and radio presenter, who tragically took her own life last year - she was just forty years of age and her death has left many questions to be answered.
In the wake of the tragedy her followers were quick to ask why such a young, beautiful and immensely talented person would feel the need to carry out such a deliberate and final act? What were the events that contributed to the downturn of her mental health?
Caroline was going through a very public court case with allegations claiming she physically abused her boyfriend, Lewis Burton. It seems that Burton had made a public announcement calling for the matter to be dropped, but the case was ongoing and being covered extensively in the media.
All of this attention was weighing so heavily on Caroline that the pressures and public scrutiny had a catastrophic effect on her mental health. This is something that comes with fame - you are living every moment of your life under the microscope, to be picked apart, judged and critisised by anyone and everyone.
Unfortunately, the culture of the young today leans towards catching fame through programmes like "Love Island" which was one of the shows that Caroline presented. The show is under scrutiny as a result of Caroline's death, because two former contestants have also tragically taken their own lives since appearing on the show. The repercussions and negative impact that comes from gaining fame like this clearly needs addressing before more young lives are affected.
In a post on Caroline's Instagram page she alludes to struggles with her mental health in the months before her death, with the words "I've been in a really weird place... I find it hard to talk about it". She also mentions the fact that she tried to talk to someone about her worries and they told her that she was "draining". This is the point that we need to learn from Caroline's death - NEVER say that to someone who is trying talk about their feelings or their mental health.
I once tried to talk to a friend in a similar way and I was told that I was being very "self-indulgent". Please don't say that to people because they are already wrestling with their minds and trying everything to not feel the way they do. It just intensifies the guilt and next time the person needs to talk they think - "Oh that's indulgent of me, I'm being draining," and they keep it to themselves, exacerbating the problem even further.
The advice people give is often ridiculous, I was once told to have a Gin and Tonic in the bath and "get over it." It's no wonder people take their own lives - we're not supporting each other in an intelligent and educated way. SIT down with the person, LISTEN, empathise, let them talk and let their feelings out and then tell them that you are going to support and help them.
The caption that was spread widely as a result of Caroline's death was "be kind". I think that is a very appropriate message to be sending out. Be kind, listen, support and help others, it really isn't complicated. Remember that everyone is different and not everyone's experience of the world, is the same! Some people are suffering even though externally they are showing no signs of distress, so treat everyone with the same level of compassion and observation!
I have added Caroline's Instagram post at the bottom of this page. There is a full article about Caroline in The Guardian which you can find here. There is also a video on YouTube which calls for changes in the media which you can find here.
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I have had lots of lovely emails of encouragement which is great so thank you! I am determined to help through my experience of mental health difficulties - it is so very important that we try to not only spread awareness but also to educate people so that they know how to help.
Thanks for reading,
Speak to you soon,