19-year-old girl with autism kills herself after being forced to stay indoors due to coronavirus quarantine
The young waitress, described as 'funny and charming', passed away on Sunday, March 22, after being rushed to a hospital
A 19-year-old woman died after reportedly attempting to take her own life over fears of being isolated amid the coronavirus pandemic, her family has said. The teenager, identified as Emily Owen, had high-functioning autism and a "daily battle to fit in and conform to social norms." The young waitress, described as "funny and charming", passed away on Sunday, March 22, after being rushed to a hospital.
Emily's family said that she had struggled to cope "with her world closing in, plans being canceled and being stuck inside," according to the Daily Mail. After the tragic incident, the 19-year-old's devastated family has called for more awareness and support for people struggling with mental health issues during the pandemic. Multiple countries across the world struggling to cope with the containment of the deadly novel coronavirus have or urged their citizens to work from home and isolate themselves in their houses to break the chain of transmission.
Emily, from Kings Lynn, Norfolk, had reportedly warned her loved ones of what was about to unfold in their lives, days before the tragedy. "More people will die from suicide during this than the virus itself," she had said. The teenager's family said that she was concerned about coronavirus and the "mental health impacts of isolation." She had also signed up to be an organ donor when she was just 12. Three children will benefit from her gift of life.
The teenager had been planning on volunteering to assist others struggling to cope; however, she herself was found critically ill in her room on Wednesday, March 18. Her family suspects that the "fear of the unknown may have driver her over the edge."
Emily's sister, 21-year-old Annabel Owen, took to Facebook to write a tribute for her younger sister: "Emily was very concerned about coronavirus itself but more concerned about the mental health impact of isolation and the fear of the unknown. 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," Annabel wrote. "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 workplace, the Kings Arms pub in Shouldham, Norfolk, also posted a tribute to her on its Facebook page, saying they were heartbroken by the news. "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," the statement said.
An online fundraising page set up in the teenager's memory has raised over $2,984.