Brighton mural in memory of 13-year-old will raise awareness of youth suicide
A beareaved mother is planning to create a giant public mural in the city centre in memory of her beloved daughter, Minnie Rose Eastman.
Sacha Eastman said it would help raise awareness of youth suicide and support the work of the national suicide prevention charity PAPYRUS.
She has already approached two artists about the artwork, which she hopes can be painted close to the Greater Brighton Metropolitan College, where her 17-year-old daughter studies.
Sacha had initially hoped the mural could be completed on Monday (May 24) – which would have been Minnie’s 15th birthday.
But with arrangements still needing to be confirmed, the artwork is likely to go ahead in June instead.
Sacha said the mural, which will feature a picture of Minnie, would be ‘beautiful’ and ‘vibrant’.
“I’m doing it for her, as a birthday gift and as a memorial to honour her life,” she said.
Minnie tragically died by suicide in July 2019, aged 13.
Sacha said: “She took her life because she didn’t think she had worth.
“So by doing this, it’s like I want to continue the power that she had, that she didn’t know she had.”
She described Minnie as an ‘individual’, with a unique personality.
“She had her own style, she was kind of crazy,” Sacha said. “She was always breaking away from the mould.”
When she was seven, she cut her hair short, and later shaved it off to raise money to provide blankets for refugee children.
“She loved it, she felt different. She felt like she was able to express her individuality,” Sacha said. “She was an individual, she always was. She was really quite something.”
Sadly, Sacha said Minnie was ‘not really accepted’ by her peers.
Being 13 was ‘a tricky age’ for many young people, she said.
“She was a tough little cookie, but she just wanted to be friends with everyone. She was just a sweet girl and wanted to be accepted.”
Minnie was much loved by her family, including her siblings – Summa, 17, Freya, 19 and Sunny, 27.
“We were all so close,” said Sacha. “We were a tribe. We went to festivals, we went camping. She was really fun.”
Minnie’s death came as a huge shock.
Sacha said: “I didn’t see it coming. I knew that she had been unhappy and we were trying various ways of sorting it out.
“It’s really hard for the people left behind.
“When you love that person, you would do anything for them, you want to save their life.
“As a mother, I don’t get to save my daughter’s life, because it’s gone.
“My eldest daughters have to live and get over the fact that they can’t all grow up together and be adults together, and be best friends.
“It’s a real process of grieving. It’s a huge loss.”
To mark the first anniversary of Minnie’s death, Sacha had planned a big benefit gig – but sadly this was cancelled due to the pandemic.
Instead, people laid flowers, notes and letters at a tree in Queen’s Park, and Sacha said it was ‘very touching’ to see some the messages left by people who had known Minnie.
Creating the mural in the city centre was ‘all about healing’, Sacha said – and she hopes it could help save young lives.
“It’s about prevention, and if I can in any way, for the rest of my life, help support that, I know that my daughter would be honoured and proud to be part of something, a good cause,” she said.
“I don’t want anyone to forget her. It helps me to feel some sort of connectedness with her.
“If even from the worse tragedy, some good comes from the bad, that helps me.”
Suicide is the biggest killer of young people in the UK, according to PAPYRUS.
The charity aims to reduce the number of young people who take their own lives by breaking down the stigma around suicide and equipping people with the skills to recognise and respond to suicidal behaviour.
HOPELINEUK is the charity’s confidential helpline service providing practical advice and support to young people with thoughts of suicide and anyone concerned about a young person who may have thoughts of suicide.
It is staffed by trained professionals, offering a telephone, text and email service.
For practical, confidential suicide prevention help and advice please contact PAPYRUS HOPELINEUK on 0800 068 4141, text 07860 039967 or email [email protected]
If you are affected by any issues raised in this story, you can also contact The Samaritans for confidential support on 116 123