Russell Brand shares powerful statement about mental health after Caroline Flack's death

George Fenwick
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Russell Brand has shared an emotional statement reflecting on Caroline Flack's death and the importance of "kindness and compassion."

Flack took her own life on Saturday, February 15 at the age of 40, and a large number of her friends and colleagues have paid tribute to the former Love Island lost on social media.

Brand posted an emotional statement on his Instagram account in which he spoke about a recent verbatim performance he gave made up of the last written words of people who had taken their own lives.

He said he was "grateful" to the family members who gave him "intimate access" to the "painful and personal" letters.

"There is so much shame around suicide, so much shame and so much pain. The writing itself; some in the form of emails, some blogs, some old fashioned notes, provided a blurred portal into the mind of the person that would go on to take their own life," he wrote.

"I sensed a familiar resonance throughout these varied pieces, a common tune in the expression of these distinct people; it was 'ordinariness'. The ordinariness of the thoughts, feelings and events that led them to make the ultimate act of self sacrifice.

"I don’t feel good enough', 'I’m lonely', 'I’m worthless', 'I’m scared I’m in too much debt', 'I’m scared I’ve hurt too many people', 'I am unlovable'. Normal feelings that I’ve felt many times, that I suspect we all feel at times.

"The line then that separates people who kill themselves and people that don’t is vague and uncertain, it is a line within each of us, not between us. We just don’t know who will or who won’t be pushed to a point of such inward pain and desperation that the dreadful certainty of suicide and the despair it inflicts on those left behind are insufficient deterrents."

Brand continued to say he was "angry and sad" that Caroline Flack, a "lovely little person," was driven to that point.

"I am angry because I have watched this play out before with vulnerable people in the public eye and I would like to slay with some righteous sword the salacious, foaming, incessant poking, trolling judgement that chased her to the grave.

"The way it did with Jade Goodie [sic], the way it did with Amy Winehouse. I know there is no single “media” or “social media”. I know they are complex machines that comprise, by their nature, millions of participants."

He said there was "little to be gained from allocating blame" for her death, but he encouraged people to use social media and their "network of connections" to spread "love and support and kindess".

"We have the power to hurt one another and the power to heal one another, perhaps that’s the only power we have. We can never see the positive impact of our actions, the times when our kindness and compassion may have saved a life but we can see what happens in its absence.

"Our best hope is to build relationships and communities based on kindness, forgiveness and compassion, not easy values to maintain given the complexity within us and without us but Caroline’s death shows us that the alternative is just too sad to bear."

Flack was also honoured on Monday's episode of Love Island, with narrator Iain Stirling saying he was "devastated" by the news.

“Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this dreadful time," he said. "Caroline and me were together from the very start of Love Island and her passion, warmth and infectious enthusiasm were a crucial part of what made the show connect with millions of viewers.

“Caroline, I want to thank you for all the fun times we had making our favourite show. You were a true friend to me. I’m going to miss you, Caz.”

If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, please contact the Samaritans on 116123 (free) or email jo@samaritans.org.

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