The parents of a young nursing home aide from Scotland who took her own life last winter have said Thursday that their daughter was driven to suicide in part by the trauma of having to wash countless dead bodies at work.
Taylor Waterston, 22, had been employed at Fullerton Care Home in Irvine and Shalom Care Home in Dreghorn, Scotland, where her difficult responsibilities contributed to the mental health issues that led to her death, her grieving parents said in an interview.
“One day she asked if I knew how many dead bodies she’d washed,” her mom, Lana McCleave, told news outlet Daily Record. “She’d lost count. I couldn’t believe it when she said it. She was just a young girl and was having to do it regularly.”
Waterston had worked at nursing homes from the time she was 17, including during the coronavirus pandemic, which has taken a particularly heavy toll on the elderly population and those living in senior care facilities.
Her parents said that seeing residents whom she was close to pass away on a regular basis was difficult for her to bear.
“She couldn’t dissociate from it,” said her father, Andi McCleave. “She told me it was one or two people a week that she was looking after that she was losing.
“The only other line of work that would happen in at that age would be a soldier in a war zone. What sort of effect did that have on the mental health of the carers?”
Waterston had sought professional help for her mental health struggles and was prescribed medication, but she did not get better.
Eventually, she quit her job and isolated herself from friends and family, before taking her own life on Dec. 19, 2021.
Since their daughter’s death, Andi and Lana have thrown themselves into raising funds for charities that offer counseling to bereaved families.
“It’s hard enough for us to get out of bed in the morning, but we want to dedicate as much time as we can to this and raising awareness,” Andi told the outlet.
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or are experiencing a mental health crisis and live in New York City, you can call 1-888-NYC-WELL for free and confidential crisis counseling.
If you live outside the five boroughs, you can dial the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.