Rethink Remembers Thomas
Thomas Elliot died tragically on Friday 3 March 2006 after a ten-year-long struggle with schizophrenia. He lived in Lewes since he was eight years old with his younger brother and parents, and attended Wallands and Priory Schools.
Despite the beginnings of the illness he obtained very good A-levels and attended a term at Kent University. He became so ill that he had several periods in hospital but tried all the time to live independently in the community. He was very interested in photography and films, taking courses at the local college and university.
He really wanted to explain to everyday people what it was like to live with schizophrenia. So in his last few years he embarked upon a major project which involved the writing of a film script which he dearly hoped would be made into a film, thus achieving his aim of raising awareness of the condition of schizophrenia and its effect on the individual.
It is part of the nature of the illness for one to experience alienation, isolation and perceived rejection by the community. In the end, the long struggle and lack of improvement in his condition led him to take a brave and considered decision. He was an affectionate, sweet and lovely person who was much loved and will be much missed. As parents who have travelled a long hard road with our ill son we hope that the efforts of the charity Rethink Mental Illness will ease the suffering of individuals with mental health problems and indeed help them to enjoy happy and fulfilling lives. There are a number of immediate issues which require addressing such as the stigma associated with mental illness, public awareness of the connection between cannabis and psychosis, the joining up of the various strands of care in the community, the lack of access to talking and behavioural therapies and the lack of attention to physical health. Rethink Mental Illness is active in campaigning on these issues. With the support of donations the charity will be able to do so much more.