‘Don’t suffer in silence’ family of mum killed on London Underground urge depression sufferers

Family snapshot from happier times... Margaret Tisson when one of her two sons was born

Family snapshot from happier times... Margaret Tisson when one of her two sons was born - Credit: Archant

The heartbroken family and friends of a woman believed to have taken her own life on the London Underground have launched a campaign urging those with depression or mental illness not to suffer in silence. Margaret Tisson—a popular East End school dinner lady who was about to retire—had bouts of depression without telling her family.

Marcus Tisson and family portrait of mum Margaret

Marcus Tisson and family portrait of mum Margaret - Credit: Archant

She ended up on the platform at Mile End station and threw herself in front of a Central line train last August in front of horrified passengers.

Now her son Marcus Tisson has started a Facebook Don’t Suffer in Silence support group, which is planning its first fundraising dinner at Canary Wharf on June 2.

The launch comes in the week the Prime Minister announced a national strategy on mental health awareness.

“Mum went missing one Sunday morning and we were all looking for her,” Marcus tells today’s East London Advertiser.

Marcus Tisson and Carly Balfourth

Marcus Tisson and Carly Balfourth - Credit: Archant

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“All the time she was at Mile End station for several hours, before she jumped on the track as a train approached.

“I went into shock when I was told. It seemed like the world had stopped.

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“We have no idea why mum did it—she was a strong-willed women, but suffered depression in silence. We didn’t know anything about it.”

The family from in Bow have set up a Facebook page urging those with depression to contact them for help and be put in touch with experts to get them through the bad patch.

Depression sofferer Carly Balfourth, now a mental health 'ambassador'

Depression sofferer Carly Balfourth, now a mental health 'ambassador' - Credit: Archant

The inquest into 59-year-old Margaret Tisson’s death is due at Poplar Coroner’s Court next month. She came to Britain when she was 11 from St Lucia in the Caribbean, the family settling in Bow.

The mum-of-two was a popular dinner lady for 20 years at nearby Wellington Way Primary school, then for 10 years at Morpeth Secondary in Bethnal Green where she was working when she died.

Helping the support group is Carly Balfourth, 31, mum-of-two from Bow (pictured above) who is a sufferer herself since her best friend Gemma McCLuskie, the TV actress from EastEnders, was murdered in 2012.

It was Carly who organised a Facebook campaign when Gemma went missing before her dismembered body was discovered in the Regent’s Canal at Haggerston over the coming months.

Murder victim Gemma McCLuskie

Murder victim Gemma McCLuskie - Credit: MPS

“It just hit me like a tonne of bricks,” Carly recalls. “I couldn’t escape from it because her murder was so widely reported.

“Everyone was talking about it—even when I went shopping there were people in the supermarket talking about it, or in the school-playground. There was just no escape.”

But Carly sought help and her GP sent her for counselling to “get to the root of what causes depression before you can get over it—not to suffer alone”.

Her depression continued through 2013 when Gemma’s brother Tony McCLuskie living with her in Bethnal Green was arrested for her murder and jailed by the Old Bailey.

Carly, now a mental health ‘ambassador’ who gives talks on depression, is helping organise Marcus’s big night on June 2. The support group holds its first major function at Canary Wharf’s Riverside Plaza hotel in West Ferry Circus on the anniversary of the Queen’s 1952 coronation. Tickets are £100 including meal, wine and champagne reception. Showbiz personalities confirmed include Five After Midnight from X-factor, Actor Adam Deacon and Sandra from TV’s Gogglebox.

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