A Coronation Street actor has spoken of the heartbreaking night his sister took her own life on New Year’s Eve.
Oliver Devoti – Daisy Midgeley’s boyfriend Lee in the ITV show – had spoken to Amelia just minutes earlier before she went upstairs, and then tried to save her life when he discovered what had happened.
Now the actor – who has also appeared in Game of Thrones – is urging people with suicidal thoughts to “talk about it and share it”, 12 years after her death.
Mr Devoti, 36, says he felt he had to speak out about mental health issues after coming to terms with his own suicidal feelings.
He said the 26-year-old was a “social butterfly” who would “take in waifs and strays”.
That fateful night, Mr Devoti, his partner and his baby son were having “a quiet evening in” with Amelia on December 31, 2008.
After an intense 20-minute playtime with her baby nephew, Amelia asked to be left alone to listen to music in her living room.
He said: “My son was down to sleep in the spare room and we said to Amelia we are going to go out for a 15-minute walk.
“We walked around the block. We didn’t even go into the living room because she wanted to be left alone.
“We checked on my son. Everything was fine, so we just sat back down in the hallway.
“Then the music went off – and it was not like her to let the music go off.
“Five or six minutes later the music was still off. We thought this was strange because she would not sit there in silence.”
Mr Devoti said he opened the door and found his sister hanging.
Former soldier Mr Devoti got his sister down and started resuscitation while his partner called for an ambulance, but Amelia was later pronounced dead.
Now he says he wants those suffering to reach out to family members and loved ones.
“Talk about it and share it,” the actor from Newcastle said.
“Ask for help and don’t be too scared to.
“You can’t deal with everything yourself and Amelia’s life is evidence of that.
“She didn’t want to burden other people, she didn’t want us to carry the weight of her neuroses, and she ultimately couldn’t deal with her own.”
He added: “You need to communicate it – if no-one knows what you’re going through, no-one can help.”
He said she had suffered heartbreak throughout her 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@example.com, 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 on its website
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 here and a helpline: 0800 58 58 58
Her father died on her 18th birthday, while the death of her beloved dog, Sam, may have been a “final tipping point”, he said.
Mr Devoti said: “We knew that she was fragile but just felt helpless to do anything about it.
“You always think: ‘what if, what if, what if?’
“But it negatively impacts your mental health. You’re not going to be able to live your life. You can’t change the past.
“I’ve been through that cycle and it’s not helped me in any shape or form.”
The Birmingham-born actor celebrated one of his biggest roles to date in December after arriving on Coronation Street as Lee, the boyfriend of new Weatherfield regular Daisy Midgeley.
He has also had roles in Game Of Thrones – as Northerner in Alley in The Bells episode – and as a police officer in the hit BBC drama Bodyguard, as well as small roles in shows such as Doctors and Hollyoaks.
But he said he “often” has suicidal thoughts, which he has previously kept to himself.
He said: “I get self-worth problems all the time – imposter syndrome and doubt, but telling people about that makes people go: ‘are you serious?’
“We all have those feelings, but it’s talking about it on a day-to-day basis (that makes a difference).”
Mr Devoti has now lent his support to suicide prevention charity Papyrus.
That organisation has produced a short film called Unfinished Plans to highlight awareness of suicide among young people.
Papyrus chief executive Ged Flynn said: “Tragically, Ollie’s own family has been bereaved by suicide and the death of his sister is a deeply personal and powerful story of loss and grief.
“By sharing his story we hope it will encourage others to talk openly and help to break down the stigma around suicide.
“At Papyrus, we believe many suicides can be prevented. If you are struggling with life, or you are worried about someone who may be having thoughts of suicide, help is available.”
For confidential suicide prevention help and advice, contact the Papyrus HopelineUK on 0800 068 4141, text 07860 039967 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.