A West London woman has begged people to “check up on your loved ones” after her sister took her own life just hours after calling her to say she was fine.
Mina Walters, a 33-year-old finance analyst from Hammersmith, died on July 5, leaving behind a ‘big family’ including her mum, dad, brothers, sisters, and grandma, who live across the UK and abroad.
Her family believe “bubbly and loving” Mina took her own life, though there has not yet been an inquest into her death.
READ MORE: West London mum tells of ‘exhausting’ long Covid and calls for action
(Image: Family handout)
Mina’s sister Arna, 28, also a finance analyst, said the lockdown had taken a “massive toll” on Mina’s mental health without their family realising it.
“It was really, really hard for her,” said Arna, describing how Mina, who had lived on her own, had spoken to her family every single day throughout the pandemic.
Arna said they had noticed her sister, who had always been ‘bubbly, creative and ambitious’, and loved to travel and socialise, “wasn’t a hundred percent herself” over lockdown – but they didn’t realise the extent of how she was feeling.
She said on the morning Mina died “she had spoken to myself, my grandma, my mum… it seemed like a normal day.”
Arna said she had seemed “quite anxious” on the phone, and kept saying she had to go – but Mina assured her, telling her she was fine, and “I’ll speak to you later.”
Later that day Arna received a phone call from the police, calling to tell her they believed Mina had taken her own life.
Arna knew the lockdown had been hard for many people, but she “genuinely didn’t realise how hard.”
“I know they speak about it in the news and the media, but I think people don’t realise how much it actually has impacted people,” said Arna, becoming emotional as she described how it only ‘hit home’ when she heard the news about her sister.
“She was keeping herself busy in the lockdown, but maybe it was just too much for her.”
Arna added: “When people speak about mental health it’s really hard because they say you should check up on your family and your friends.
“But even if you check in with your family and friends sometimes it doesn’t even make a difference because you just don’t know what’s going on.
“You still don’t even know the extent of how they’re feeling, or what they’re going through, or their experiences.”
(Image: Family handout)
Arna said Mina was a “really smart and ambitious” woman who had always been a very bright student in school and loved the work she did as an analyst.
She said her sister was a creative type who was “always talking about ideas” and loved to design and make things, including her own clothes, bags in African prints which she embroidered herself, and abstract paintings in bright, bold colours.
“We didn’t even know she painted,” said Arna, who described Mina as a ‘jack of many’ who even mixed her own “upbeat, pop-house” music.
She had also loved to travel before lockdown, visiting parts of Europe as well as Egypt and Ghana, and even road-tripping around America, and “had so many friends from different walks of life.”
You don’t have to suffer in silence if you’re struggling with your mental health. Here are some groups you can contact when you need help.
Samaritans: Phone 116 123, 24 hours a day, or email [email protected], in confidence
Childline: Phone 0800 1111. Calls are free and won’t show up on your bill
PAPYRUS: A voluntary organisation supporting suicidal teens and young adults. Phone 0800 068 4141
Depression Alliance: A charity for people with depression. No helpline but offers useful resources and links to other information
Students Against Depression: A website for students who are depressed, have low mood, or are suicidal. Click here to visit
Bullying UK: A website for both children and adults affected by bullying. Click here
Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM): For young men who are feeling unhappy. Has a website and a helpline: 0800 58 58 58
For information on your local NHS urgent mental health helpline, visit here
“People loved her,” said Arna, describing how her sister’s ‘bubbly’ and ‘loving’ nature easily attracted friends, and “she made other people feel good.”
“Although over a short space of time she really lived, and she enjoyed life – she’s missed by so many people. She’s missed by everyone, all of us.
Arna broke down in tears as she added: “I just can’t believe she’s gone. It just doesn’t feel real.
“Make sure you always check up on your loved ones, your friends, your neighbours, because it really does go a long way.”
A GoFundMe has been set up for additional funeral costs, including a car to carry flowers for Mina, and the family also intend to make a donation to the mental health charity Mind.