A university student grieving the death of her cancer-stricken father committed suicide, an inquest heard.

Jenny Harrison, 19, struggled as her dad Mark’s condition deteriorated.

She even made a heartbreaking phone call to her family in which she begged for him not to die.

Her inquest today heard how the teenager found it difficult to come to terms with Mark’s death on June 29, around one year and eight months after he was diagnosed with cancer.

And Jenny was found hanged on campus at Lancaster University just two months later.

The Geography student was taken to hospital but died later that day.

Recording a conclusion of suicide, Coroner James Newman said: "Jenny was a person who was there for others but sadly she was unable to help herself, and that is not a criticism of her.

"Her character was being there for others.. She was a young lady who was incredibly intelligent but mental illness is one of the greatest demons of our time.

"I believe she acted on impulse. When she wanted to do something, she did it in a spur of the moment.

"I believe she did it spontaneously but she did intend to take her own life.

"I wish what I could say would wave a magic wand and make it better, but it doesn’t, I can only imagine how difficult today has been."

The inquest in Lancaster was told how Jenny was looking forward to university.

Her grieving mum Alison Harrison said: "She was positive about going to uni but Mark’s illness was confirmed after she started her first year.

"He was diagnosed when she had been there for two weeks. I think it was a combination of the diagnosis of Mark’s illness and being at uni for a couple of weeks which added to her depressive illness.

"Mark’s diagnosis was painful for her and we had a distressing call from her saying she cut her wrists and she was talking about her feelings.

"She didn’t have her friends from home around and the others didn’t empathise with her. She tried to take her own life and was in hospital for five days.

"Her friend picked her up from the hospital and brought her back home, but it wasn’t long before she wanted to go back to uni.

"She was offered group counselling, and she saw a doctor who diagnosed her with depression and after six weeks she started antidepressants.

"She visited regularly to spend time with Mark, he became worse over Christmas.

"She called Mark and pleaded with him not to die. In February Mark’s prognosis was really bad and he was admitted to hospital. She had a few weeks away from uni to spend time with Mark but he sadly passed away."

Allison, from Derby, added: "Jenny was involved with the funeral for Mark and for some friends and family, it was the last time they saw Jenny before she returned to uni. Jenny said she was doing well and that she was dealing with what was going on. I’m aware she was getting ready to go to Amsterdam and she had to take some exams for this and I think she was a bit concerned.

"I know she liked to go out with her friends at uni, I’m aware they were celebrating that night. The next thing I remember was receiving a difficult phone call on 29 June and being told she had been taken into intensive care.

"But sadly the damage had been done and she passed away. She had a special way with words, she was unique. I feel she felt she was treading water.

"I was worried about Jenny after her dad died. They had such a close relationship and she was so close to him – she couldn’t admit she needed the help."

Susanne Gilford, a mental health practitioner who treated Jenny for an overdose in October 2017, said: "She described feeling overwhelmed and anxious and had a tendency to overthink things but she expressed she was happy to be alive.

"She said she was using YouTube videos as a distraction and she accepted her thoughts could be irrational."

Lancaster University said Jenny was "not showing a high of risk of danger to herself."

Kelly Robinson, head of counselling at the institution, told the inquest: "We were unaware of the previous attempts to take her own life. If there was immediate risk to her safety, we would have phoned her parents. On January 29 she came to a porter in the student accommodation at university and spoke to them and said she was feeling distressed and had suicidal thoughts.

"They spoke to her and calmed her down. Based on the assessment she did not show intent at the time, she denied any kind of intent. She said she could keep herself safe. At that time she wasn’t a risk to herself or others. We referred her to a questionnaire to help her understand what help she needed whether it was counselling or group counselling.

"We were aware of her being referred to hospital in November. I think everyone in this wishes they had done something differently. She seemed to be doing well and loved it at uni. At that time, looking at the assessment, she was not an immediate concern as she was not showing a high of risk of danger to herself."

For confidential support the Samaritans can be contacted for free around the clock 365 days a year on 116 123.

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