Lockdown UK: Husband tells how wife, 54, took her own life when she lost her job amid coronavirus

A ‘sociable and bubbly’ woman killed herself after she was made redundant and struggled to cope with isolation during lockdown, her husband has revealed.

Howard Jones, 77, said Sarah, 54, from Wigston in Leicestershire, didn’t have any mental health problems before the coronavirus pandemic.

He said his wife of 15 years fell into a depression when lockdown continued and she was made redundant from the job she held for 20 years as an administrator at an insurance brokers. 

Charities and politicians urged No10 to provide much-needed funding to prop up mental health services last month, amid a continuing crisis as Britons are kept away from loved ones.

Howard Jones (left), 77, said Sarah (right), 54, from Wigston in Leicestershire, didn’t have any mental health problems before the coronavirus pandemic

Mr Jones said his wife of 15 years fell into a depression when lockdown continued and she was made redundant from the job she held for 20 years as an administrator at an insurance brokers. Pictured, Mrs Jones

Mr Jones said his wife of 15 years fell into a depression when lockdown continued and she was made redundant from the job she held for 20 years as an administrator at an insurance brokers. Pictured, Mrs Jones

Mrs Jones was devastated when she couldn’t see friends, family or even work colleagues after she was furloughed in March last year. 

Father-of-two Mr Jones said being made redundant further impacted her mental health and she was diagnosed with depression.

He found her dead at their home on January 20 after she told him she was going for a nap. Mr Jones said his wife felt she had ‘everything taken away from her’ by the pandemic.

He said he blames nobody for his wife’s death but wanted to encourage others who are suffering to confide in their loved ones.

The retired printer said: ‘Sarah was so social. She had many friends and she loved her job.

Mrs Jones (pictured with her husband) was devastated when she couldn't see friends, family or even work colleagues after she was furloughed in March last year

Mrs Jones (pictured with her husband) was devastated when she couldn’t see friends, family or even work colleagues after she was furloughed in March last year

‘It devastated her not being able to see her friends and family because of the lockdown, and then being made redundant as well was too much for her.

‘She felt like everything had been taken away from her, and that snowballed into depression with a tragic ending. Sarah was loved by everyone – she was so caring and would never say a bad word about anyone.

‘She was a wonderful wife and she was my rock. Her death has completely destroyed me. I knew she was struggling but I never thought it would come to this. The pandemic has cost me my wife and my life.’

The couple met in a pub 20 years ago after Mr Jones was drawn to her ‘lovely smile and bubbly personality’.

Mr Jones found his wife (pictured) dead in their home on January 20 after she told him she was going for a nap

Mr Jones said his wife felt she had 'everything taken away from her' by the pandemic

Mr Jones found his wife (pictured) dead in their home on January 20 after she told him she was going for a nap. Mr Jones said his wife felt she had ‘everything taken away from her’ by the pandemic

Mr Jones said she'd struggled with not seeing her work friends after she was furloughed last March - but hoped she could soon return to her job

Mr Jones said she’d struggled with not seeing her work friends after she was furloughed last March – but hoped she could soon return to her job

They married in 2005 and she had enjoyed a close relationship with his children, Nicola and Chris Jones, now 40 and 38, and his grandchildren.  

He said she’d struggled with not seeing her work friends after she was furloughed last March – but hoped she could soon return to her job.

She was then made redundant in November, which Howard said, coupled with being isolated in lockdown, caused her to spiral into depression.

The couple met in a pub 20 years ago after Mr Jones was drawn to her 'lovely smile and bubbly personality'. Pictured, Mr Jones with his son Chris (right), 38, and daughter Nicola, 40

The couple met in a pub 20 years ago after Mr Jones was drawn to her ‘lovely smile and bubbly personality’. Pictured, Mr Jones with his son Chris (right), 38, and daughter Nicola, 40

He said: ‘It was the combination of being in lockdown and then losing her job and her income.

10million people ‘face mental health crisis in wake of Covid’

Up to 10million people could need mental health support in the wake of the pandemic, a report warned before Britain’s second wave of coronavirus.

Experts said around 8.5million adults and 1.5million children in England will likely need help to deal with the fallout from coronavirus, including losing loved ones and jobs.

They will mostly need help for depression and anxiety, according to analysis from the Centre for Mental Health, which consulted experts from the NHS.

But others – including NHS workers – could develop conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), more commonly associated with service personnel following armed conflicts.

‘She had been such a happy person and she felt everything had been taken away from her all at once.’ 

Mrs Jones had been recently diagnosed with depression, and was taking mediation, but had ‘shown no signs of wanting to harm herself’, he said.

He said: ‘Her death was a tragedy we never expected, but we have no choice but to face what’s happened.

‘I am completely heart-broken but I have so many fantastic memories of her and I want to hold on to those.

‘I don’t blame anyone, but it goes to show how much damage this pandemic can have on people’s mental health.’ 

Mind says its pandemic support page has seen its highest number of visitors since April — when the country was in the grips of the first wave.

And former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt warned there is a ‘real risk’ self-isolation becomes a ‘tipping point leading to an epidemic of severe mental illness’.

Experts claim the mental health crisis has been fuelled by the UK’s huge death toll, mass unemployment caused by the lockdowns and the social effects of stay at home orders. 

In December, leading psychiatrist Dr Adrian James warned Covid-19 could deliver the biggest hit to Briton’s mental well-being since the Second World War.

And the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed in August around one in five Britons suffered either moderate or severe depressive symptoms in June 2020, almost double the level recorded the same time the previous year.

For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, see www.samaritans.org for details. 

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