Without Suicide Forums Callie Might Still Be Alive


Without Suicide Forums Callie Might Still Be Alive

Like a lot of people her age, Callie Lewis loved animals and posting videos she’d made of herself on YouTube and Tumblr.

But Callie, who was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome at a young age, struggled with chronic depression and suicidal thoughts.

“Callie was passionate about animal rights, she would always say that she much preferred animals to people,” recalls her mum, Sarah Lewis.

She was just 24 when she took her own life.

Now, a new Panorama documentary tells Callie’s story, looking at the role suicide forums played in her death and challenging the NHS over, what they have acknowledged as, failings in Callie’s care.

It wasn’t until just over a month before her death that Callie started chatting with strangers in online suicide forums.

These are corners of the internet where people discuss suicide and in some cases, share information on how someone can end their own life.

In posts on one suicide forum, Callie told other users about failed attempts to take her life. In another, she asked for help hiding her intentions from mental health professionals.

‘Engrossed’ in suicide websites

After hanging out on the forum, Callie discovered a new suicide method and even bought a “suicide kit”, which she later used to end her life.

Callie’s mum believes the website played a significant role in her daughter’s death in August 2018.

She went to stay in Windermere, Cumbria – 350 miles away from her mum – where she remained for several days before taking her life.

“Without those forums, I think my daughter would have struggled to find the information that she was looking for about how to die,” Sarah says.

She found out that Callie had been using them after one of her daughter’s close friends, Jan – a former special needs teacher – alerted her out of concern for Callie’s safety.

According to Jan, Callie had become “engrossed” in suicide websites which were “encouraging her how to do it”.

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Jan says Callie cut ties with him in the run-up to her death. “She felt that if she communicated with me she wouldn’t be able to do it, but if she cut me off and communicated with them they would make sure she did it.”

“When we found out about the suicide website she’d been on, that set off an alarm bell – it began to feel like an obsession,” says Callie’s granddad, Graham Lewis.


After stopping communication with family and friends before her death, the last people Callie spoke to were the forum users.

Instead of trying to get her help, they encouraged her to take her own life.

“Good luck. We all wish you a swift travel,” wrote one. “May you find peace, my friend,” said another.

Without Suicide Forums Callie Might Still Be Alive


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