Depression to blame for woman's suicide

A young woman hanged herself while suffering from depression – almost exactly two years after taking a drug overdose, a court heard.

Rachel Pickering was confirmed dead by an ambulance crew at her home on January 8 this year.

An inquest in Bolton heard that Rachel, of Old Road, Ashton, died by hanging herself after telling a friend she was planning to take her own life in January.

The 26-year-old, who had suffered with depression since 1998, was found by her mum Christine in her bedroom at the family home the morning after a family night out.

Mrs Pickering said she had just been to pick up her daughter's prescription of anti-depressants, Christine had last had in October 2008.

She told the court she could tell her daughter had not been taking the medication because her mood changed, which is why she went to collect Rachel's prescription herself.

The inquest heard the night before her death, Rachel had been out clubbing with her friends and family, and was described by her aunt, Lillian Hession, as being happy and in good spirits during the night.

She said her niece had been singing and dancing and the group ended up going to Mad Jack's nightclub in Wigan Road, Ashton.

Rachel, who had a history of self-harming, left the nightclub at around 2am on her own but according to Mrs Hession was still in good spirits.

She went home and had a conversation with her brother at around 3.20am before going to her bedroom.

The 26-year-old had tried to commit suicide before by taking a drug overdose, but immediately contacted her mum who took her to Wigan infirmary on January 7, 2007.

Deputy Coroner, Alan Walsh, said that this date may have been significant to Rachel: "It may well not be a coincidence that Rachel took her life almost exactly two years after she took an overdose of drugs."

Rachel had been signed off work with stress in August 2008, which Mrs Pickering said had made her daughter's depression worse. She worked as manageress at a pub.

Mrs Pickering knew that Rachel had problems with depression and self-harming, and had advised her daughter to see a doctor, but she refused because she did not think they could help her.

Dr Monica Agarwal, a consultant histopathologist from Wigan Infirmary, said Rachel had scars over her body from where she had cut herself, including one on her right thigh which said "help."

The Coroner said: "There was an element of planning in Rachel's actions. She looked through her drawers to find the neck tie that she used as a ligature.

"I believe that Rachel intended to take her own life. She did not seek to warn anybody and took the action that she did after every one had gone to bed. Depression caused her to take those actions."