Emily Owen, 19, from Norfolk, died in hospital after attempting to take her own life. Her family said she was unable to cope ‘with her world closing in, plans being cancelled and being stuck inside’.
A ‘beautiful’ teenager who feared being isolated with coronavirus has died after attempting to take her life, her family have confirmed.
‘Funny and charming’ Emily Owen, who had high-functioning autism and ‘a daily battle to fit in and conform to social norms’, passed away after a suicide attempt.
The 19-year-old’s family said the young waitress had been unable to cope ‘with her world closing in, plans being cancelled and being stuck inside’.
Her devastated family have demanded more awareness and support for people struggling with mental health issues during the pandemic.
Emily, from Kings Lynn, Norfolk, had warned loved ones days before the tragedy: ‘More people will die from suicide during this than the virus itself’.
Her family said the teenager was concerned about coronavirus and the ‘mental health impacts of isolation’.
Emily Owen, 19, passed away in hospital after a suicide attempt
Emily, who had been planning on volunteering to help others struggling to cope, died in hospital on Sunday after being found critically ill on Wednesday, March 18.
Her family suspect the ‘fear of the unknown may have driven her over the edge’.
Her sister Annabel Owen, 21, said in a tribute posted online: ‘Emily was very concerned about coronavirus itself but more concerned about the mental health impact of isolation and the fear of the unknown.’
Emily, who was described by her family as ‘talented and a little bit crazy’, signed up to be an organ donor aged 12. Three children will benefit from her gift of life.
Annabel added in the Facebook tribute: ‘We are all absolutely devastated but also immensely proud of everything she achieved in her life.
‘So many people have messaged us saying how Emily helped them through hard times of their own, and we had no idea how much positive impact she had on those around her.
‘To many people Emily was a really fun, energetic, happy girl, but only a few were aware of the many years of internal battles she had.
‘Few people are aware but four years ago she was diagnosed with high-functioning autism and had a daily battle to fit in and conform to social norms.
‘She didn’t want anyone to know, but now she has gone we want to make people know that autism comes in all shapes and sizes.’
Emily’s family said the young waitress had been unable to cope ‘with her world closing in, plans being cancelled and being stuck inside’
An online fundraising page has raised more than £2,400 in Emily’s memory.
The Kings Arms pub in Shouldham, Norfolk, where Emily worked, posted a tribute on its Facebook page.
It read: ‘We are heartbroken that we won’t see her breeze through our doors like a tornado of energy again, or hear her distinctive laugh, she was a big part of our team and we will miss her enormously.’