An English teen who committed suicide left behind a diary detailing depression and bullying, a recent coroner’s inquest found. Fourteen-year-old Uma Gupta once shared the stage with pop singer Ariana Grande. In the years since, however, she found herself facing struggles that took a toll on her mental health.
Singing With Ariana Grande
A student at Parrs Wood High in Didsbury, Manchester, Gupta had been a member of the Parrs Wood Harmony Choir. In the wake of the 2017 Manchester bombing at an Ariana Grande concert, the choir went viral with their tribute to the victims, a cover of the singer’s “My Everything.”
Following the cover’s viral success, the choir performed the song on stage with Grande at the One Love Manchester benefit concert. In footage of the performance, Gupta can be seen standing at the very end on the stage’s right-hand side.
Gupta Struggled With Bullying, Tragedy
According to a recent inquest into Gupta’s death, the years following the One Love event found the teen struggling with bullies at school and tragedy at home.
In September of 2018, a distant relative of Gupta’s reportedly committed suicide, leading to a decline in her mental health. According to family members, the usually upbeat teen had become “low and withdrawn” by November 2018.
In late December of that year, police found Gupta, after attending a house party, in the street banging her head against the ground, saying she “wanted to die.” When a hospital psychiatrist spoke to her following the incident, she revealed that she was being bullied by a classmate who had “threatened to stab her.”
The psychiatrist found that Gupta was not at risk for suicide, and referred her to mental health and social services.
Meanwhile, the head of learning at Parrs Wood, Paul Herron, said the school had known about the conflict between Gupta and her classmate and had excluded the bully to address the issue. He added that there had been no reports of further incidents after mid-January 2019 — a few months before Gupta’s March 2019 suicide.
“Nothing was reported,” said Wood. “It didn’t seem like anything was wrong.”
A Fateful Night In March
On March 2, 2019, Gupta attended another party. According to her parents, she left in a good mood after they had told her “how beautiful she looked.”
“She seemed happy,” they told the inquest.
According to witnesses at the party, however, her mood changed. At one point she began sobbing, saying, “I don’t want to be here, I want to kill myself.”
After telling friends that her mother was picking her up, Gupta reportedly left the party and headed toward a nearby railway station, where a train struck and killed her.
Senior coroner Nigel Meadows recorded Gupta’s cause of death as suicide. He cited, in part, troubling diary entries that were found from the months leading up to her passing.
One diary entry from October 10, 2018 read, “Don’t be upset. I wasn’t happy and things weren’t going to change. […] Just imagine I was never here. […] I love my family and friends. I planned this for ages.”
“Uma’s diary is consistent and clear about her mental health,” said Meadows of his ruling. “I am satisfied that Uma is the only person who caused herself to leave the platform in front of that train.”
Remembering Uma Gupta
Parrs Wood High has since responded to Gupta’s death, which headteacher Mark McElwee described as “very upsetting for the whole school community,” with new measures to provide mental health help for students. The new measures include a confidential bullying reporting line, an “ask-twice” policy regarding students’ well-being, and staff trained in mental health first aid.
Meanwhile, Gupta’s parents remember her as someone who “was always the life and soul of the party and didn’t struggle to make friends.”
“She loved life and will be missed by everyone,” the parents said in a statement. “She lit up a room whenever she walked in. The family home is not the same since she died. It’s very quiet.”