BEFORE Lauren Willis lost her father to suicide she had no idea he could be battling mental health issues as he "always portrayed a positive attitude to life".

"There is nothing in this world that could be that bad to end your life," he once told Lauren whilst watching a documentary about a family that had lost someone to suicide.

"I don’t understand how anyone could do such a thing, because there is always another way out. Things get tough, but things will get easier," he added.

But Paul Willis, of Pinvin, took his own life, aged 46, on August 10 in 2016.

"It’s not always easy to see behind a smile, " Lauren said. "Never did I think my dad wouldn’t be with us."

"I have lost my dad, my hero and my best friend, all within a second, and I am forever wishing I could have done something."

The 19-year-old said: "Within the last week leading up to his death, he suffered from stress over his job.

"These stresses led my dad into having no sleep. Although I noticed a sudden change in my dad, I couldn’t get him to justify what was wrong.

"As a result of not speaking, he kept all his worries inside and therefore had a breakdown. I truly am devastated of the outcome of this and the only thing I can do now is to encourage everyone to talk about their problems."

She said: "Before reading into what mental health was all about, I would have never of associated my dad with having a mental health problem."

"Mental health is not just depression. It’s not just anxiety. It’s not just bipolar. There is so much more to mental health than you might think," she explained.

Lauren, who works at the Pret cafe in Worcester High Street, honoured her father's memory by taking part in a wing walk for Mind - The Mental Health Charity in Oxfordshire on Sunday, September 30.

She said: "Britain is a country, perhaps more than any other where you might say that the national emotion is embarrassment and nowhere is that clearer than when it comes to mental health. This is perhaps why I was so hesitant as to whether doing fund-raising for this cause was the right thing to do, because I wanted to consider whether my dad would want the word ‘mental health’ associated with his legacy. But we’ve got to get rid of this stigma.

"I know that doing all of this will never bring my dad back but this will help save someone else from going through the pain my dad went through in the last week leading up to his death and will prevent families from having to deal with this kind of loss.

"I need to make sure everyone understands that it is so important to seek help if they ever feel like they’re in this situation. Although it is not easy when in this situation yourself, remember that pain is not always permanent."

"Make the most of every minute with your family; never take anything for granted."

So far, the former business student at Heart of Worcestershire College, has raised about £5,700 for the charity, in memory of her father, through a charity raffle and fundraising page.

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