After the tragic death of his daughter, Tony Soutter is speaking out.
As the Inquisitr shared over the weekend, Ellie Soutter, a young British snowboarder, committed suicide in Les Gets, France, in the Alps on her 18th birthday. The snowboarder disappeared from her home and a search led authorities to her body in a heavily wooded area. Since the news of her death, Soutter’s family has been reeling. People shares that Soutter’s father, Tony, has spoken out for the first time since losing his beloved daughter, whom he shared an incredibly close bond with.
“I have lost my best friend, my total buddy. She was my rock.”
Tony told media outlets that his daughter had pre-existing mental health issues and she wanted to do her best at everything. Soutter shares that Ellie didn’t want to let anyone down and he believes that missing a flight that prevented her from training with the Great Britain squad may have been the thing that tipped her over the edge.
“She felt she’d let them down, felt she’d let me down and just tragically it just takes one silly little thing like that to tip someone over the edge, because there’s a lot of pressure on children.”
Now, Tony is trying to use his voice as a platform to raise awareness for others who are struggling with mental health issues.
“Mental health awareness needs to be really looked at and made more public,” the 55-year-old added.
Following Soutter’s comments, a spokesman for UK Sport said that they are making sure they take steps to ensure that something like this does not happen again.
“This is a desperately sad situation and our thoughts are with all of Ellie’s family and friends. We are working with all of our Olympic and Paralympic programs and the mental health charity Mind to make sure appropriate support is in place,” the statement said.
Since her death, Ellie’s family has also set up a GoFundMe page to “continue fundraising under Ellie’s name for young winter athletes that need financial assistance to achieve their potential and dreams, in much the same way as Ellie had looked for your help.”
Ellie’s funeral will take place this Thursday and close family and friends will then attend a private cremation. Soutter’s snowboarding friends have also paid tribute to their fallen friend at a local mountain ski resort by lighting 120 lanterns in the mountains that surround the resort in her honor.
People contemplating taking their own life are strongly urged to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).