A grieving mum has paid tribute to her 20-year-old daughter who took her own life just two days before the gender reveal party for her new sister.
Leonie Baigan struggled with her mental health during the pandemic and had been signed off work from her job at a bank, but her mum said the family had no idea she was suicidal.
Her mother Stacey Baigan, 40, who is six months pregnant, said Leonie was due to pop the balloon at her gender reveal party just two days after she took her own life on March 4.
She said: "I've been planning a funeral when I should have been planning a 21st birthday.
"It was just so unexpected, we had been trying to get help for her mental health but never in a million years did I think this was going to happen."
Baigan said her daughter, who lived in Edinburgh, had called NHS 24 on December 23 to ask for help and had been prescribed antidepressants the following day but hadn't been taking them.
In February she was signed off work and given access to five private counselling sessions on the phone, but was so shy she couldn't phone a taxi herself or order a takeaway so missed all the phone calls.
Her mother said she felt face-to-face support should be given to people in crisis – even during the COVID pandemic.
She said: "In the pandemic everything is done by phone, Leonie was so socially introverted she couldn't phone a taxi.
"She used to get her nails done at the same salon for about six years but she couldn't phone to make an appointment."
She added: "For someone to speak to a complete stranger about their mental health on the phone, it is quite sensitive and personal.
"I know we're in a pandemic but why can't it be in a room two metres apart, you can get a filling done but there isn't enough face-to-face support for people in crisis."
In an effort to improve her mental health her mum said Leonie had come off social media for a month, upped her fitness levels and was buying and reading self-help books as well as writing a journal.
On the day she died, Leonie had a 'down day' but Stacey said there was nothing unusual about it.
She said her daughter had friends, a boyfriend, a good job, and the tragedy showed mental health needed to be taken more seriously.
"She was making plans, I'm six months pregnant and Leonie was going to pop the balloon at a gender reveal party.
"She was so excited, she was more excited than us."
Baigan now plans to complete an Open University degree in criminology and psychology and wants to set up a charity, Leonie's Legacy, to help other young people facing mental health struggles.
She added: "It is an invisible illness, if you break an arm you can see it.
"I believe that talking about it is a good start, if not we are losing a population."
A fundraising appeal for Leonie's Legacy has so far raised over £10,000. To donate, visit the GoFundMe webpage.
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