By Mollie Mansfield
The devastated mum of a student nurse who committed suicide has claimed her daughter killed herself due to the pressure of landing an NHS job.
Lucy de Oliveira, 22, strangled herself at her Liverpool student accommodation after the pressures of being a student nurse took over.
Her mother, Liz, 60, knew that Lucy was concerned about landing an NHS job after her studies as the competition was so high.
Alongside studying for her degree, the student was also trying to hold down two jobs, whilst working unpaid placement shifts as a student nurse to aid her degree.
Having also split up with her serious, long-term boyfriend just one week beforehand, Liz believes that it all got too much for Lucy.
Just days before her death, Lucy had told her mother that she would go and give university ‘one more chance’ as the stress had previously lead her to consider returning to her home in Kidderminster, West Mids, to finish her studies.
Her mother is now speaking out about Lucy’s death after finding a suicide note she had left six months before taking her own life, to break down the stigma behind mental health.
She also feels the pressure of landing an NHS job got too much for her young daughter – something that had fatal consequences.
Liz, a former Barrister, said: “There was a lot of competition to get a job as a nurse after she finished her degree.
“She was doing full time shifts as part of her placement which were unpaid and yet she had a lot of responsibility her shoulders even so.
“I’m sure that she felt, given the profession she was training for, that if there was any question over her mental health that she may not be allowed to pursue her career or it would be more difficult for her to get a post.
“It’s ridiculous really – it’s because they’re kind sensitive caring people that makes them good at the job and probably more prone to depression etc.
“If I had known she was feeling this low, there’s no way I would have let her go back to university.
“I tried to help her as much as I could, but she was very proud and wanted to show everyone she could do it for herself, but it all got too much.
“I feel as though she didn’t speak out about her mental health because of the impact she thought it could have on her job – it’s likely she was scared to say that as a future nurse, that she was struggling herself, and she didn’t want a reason to not be given a job.”
While studying to be a nurse at Liverpool John Moores University, Lucy was also holding down a job at as a waitress, a care-home worker, training shifts at the hospital and studying full-time.
Liz believes that the pressures and competition toward her dream job, alongside her lack of funding at university, were both great contributors in her death.
She said: “She was doing full time shifts as part of her placement at a hospital which were unpaid and yet she had a lot of responsibility on her shoulders even so.
“Studying full time, and then the pressure of working her hospital shifts, and trying to gain experience in the real world obviously got too much for her.
“We were always very proud of her, she was destined for a first class degree, and it’s sad that the pressure got too much for her and ruined it all.
“Perhaps if there was less pressure on student nurses, and students in general, she would have got the help she needed and been helping someone in her position by now.”
Despite Lucy passing away over one year ago, recently Liz and her family found a suicide note that she left them over six months before their death.
Liz added: “Her brother, Alex, found a suicide note that she had left six months prior to her death and it broke my heart.
“She was thanking us all for being her family, and wrote that she was sorry that she didn’t think the earth was a place for her.
“It was very emotional to read and it showed us that she really must have been struggling for some time beforehand.
“But despite now knowing she had written a note, there were still no signs alluding to this being how she felt.
“That just proven to me that people still don’t feel comfortable enough to speak about mental health.”
Following the death of her daughter, Liz is now campaigning to rid of the stigma behind mental health issues.
Firmly believing that the lack of mental health awareness and acceptance was behind her daughter’s death, Liz wants to prove why people should be talking about this.
She said: “Although it kills me that my Lucy is gone, I want to share her message to make sure this doesn’t happen to someone else and to encourage people to speak out about mental health.
“I know that Lucy would have been scared to speak out because of how she would be accepted as a nurse.
“The nurses are always the ones who are looking after people, so it’s likely she thought that she couldn’t feel like this.
“If people were more accepting, and if mental health was reacted to in the same way as physical health, maybe Lucy would still be here today.
“And that’s something that I’m going to strive to achieve until the day I die – because I don’t want anyone else to go through this feeling.”