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University student from Maidstone thanks the men who saved her life

A university student from Maidstone has thanked two strangers who stopped her from taking her life, and gave her back her "future".

Jess Paramor, 20, who is now studying pharmaceutical science at university, launched a Facebook appeal to find the men who saved her, which was shared thousands of times by those keen to help.

Jess Paramor, grew up in Maidstone and is now studying at university Picture: Jess Paramor
Jess Paramor, grew up in Maidstone and is now studying at university Picture: Jess Paramor

Following the appeal, she has now been put in contact with both and has already had a 45 minute phone call with one man, during which she told him about her degree and career plans.

Miss Paramor, who has borderline personality disorder, depression, anxiety, high functioning autism and ADHD described how in January 2020 she was "really struggling" and her medication was not helping to its full extent.

She said: "I didn't want to live, I didn't see a future for myself.

"I was being looked after by my grandparents 24/7, I wasn't safe alone.

"That night something tipped me over the edge and I went out of my house.

Jess Paramor is from Maidstone and now studies pharmaceuticals at university Picture: Jess Paramor
Jess Paramor is from Maidstone and now studies pharmaceuticals at university Picture: Jess Paramor

"I was just walking around Maidstone contemplating what to do, I didn't feel safe in myself, I didn't want to be alive.

"I couldn't deal with the thoughts inside my head, I struggle with hallucinations and I was hearing a lot of things."

While walking around the town, Miss Paramor rang the crisis team at the Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust.

"I called them to see if they could convince me not to do what I wanted to do," she said, but in the end hung up and did not go home, as the caller was telling her to.

Miss Paramor walked to a bridge and people were walking past her but nobody stopped, until a man approached her.

"He came right up to me and was like 'are you okay? That's a stupid question I know you're not okay.' He reached out to my hand and took my hand."

The man helped Miss Paramor return to a safe spot.

"I just remember sobbing into this stranger's arms," she said.

She recalled how he told how that she was loved by family and friends.

The police, who were already searching for Miss Paramor after the crisis team alerted them, took her to Priority House, a mental health clinic in Maidstone.

'I just remember sobbing into this stranger's arms...'

She was assessed but convinced the mental health professional she was able to be treated in the community, rather than stay in a hospital ward.

At this point, she still wanted to end her own life and four or five days later she returned to the same area.

This time a man who was accompanied by a woman stopped her.

"He told there was so much to live for," Miss Paramor said.

This time, the teenager was sectioned and stayed at Priority House for two weeks.

She has gradually been improving since then, first with the help of private talking therapy and then, she says, a year after she was put on the waiting list, NHS psychological talking therapy, which she is still receiving.

"That really helped me turn my life around. I finally felt I was getting somewhere, I could see more of a future for myself and I decided I wanted to go to university," she said.

She also joined an art therapy class in Chatham and has been given a new combination of medication which is much more effective.

She started at a university in the Midlands in October and returned to her accommodation after Christmas, keen to get back to the laboratory, only for a third lockdown to be enforced.

Now learning from online lectures in her dorm room, she still gets to spend time with her housemates and speaks to a student wellbeing advisor every week, who she can talk to if she's struggling.

She still has her bad days but they are "nothing compared" to the past.

She now hopes to work in the drugs industry, improving psychiatric medication as she knows first hand of its side effects.

Explaining why she put the appeal out on Facebook, Miss Paramor said:"I have never felt as stable than I have now which is why I wanted to reach out and find these people who saved me and gave me my future back," she said.

"I just needed closure if that makes sense, I needed to get it out there to tell them that 'look I'm doing so much better' and to thank them for what they did to me."

She says she feels "estatic" to have found them both and spoke to the first man on the phone yesterday.

"I said you didn't just save my life you gave me a future and for that I am eternally grateful.

"He was quite chocked up and said 'I'm just so happy'."

They spoke about Miss Paramor's future plans and he said he often wondered what happened to her.

She has also arranged to speak to the other man on the phone.

Since her Facebook appeal, many have messaged Miss Paramor praising her for her bravery in speaking out.

One lady described how she was inspired to raise money for mental health charity Mind, after seeing emergency services at the scene in January.

Miss Paramor thanked all those who shared her post, which allowed her to speak to her lifesavers.

For confidential support on an emotional issue, call Samaritans on 116123 at any time.

If you want to talk to someone confidentially, click here.

Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone

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