Richard Curtis opens up about his sister's suicide

Love Actually director Richard Curtis has revealed his sister killed herself after a 25-year battle with mental health issues as he urged people to open up about their problems.

In an emotional speech, Mr Curtis broke his silence over the death of his sister Belinda, who died the day before her 55th birthday party in October 2009.

The writer and director spoke out against the lack of support available for mental health patients and their families.

He said: ‘You have to be aware how much we’re failing. We had a 25-year stab at trying to help my sister and couldn’t do it...

Love Actually director Richard Curtis (pictured at a screenig last year) has revealed his sister killed herself after a 25-year battle with mental health issues as he urged people to open up about their problems

Love Actually director Richard Curtis (pictured at a screenig last year) has revealed his sister killed herself after a 25-year battle with mental health issues as he urged people to open up about their problems

‘The lack of resources available - the lack of beds, the places she should have gone there was just no space.

‘I was so privileged and we had so much money and so much access and still couldn’t do anything. I can’t believe what it must be like for someone whose relatives aren’t in that situation and they have nothing.’

Mr Curtis, whose credits include the Notting Hill, Four Weddings and a Funeral and television series Blackadder and The Vicar of Dibley, also revealed a designer on his latest film – who he did not name - committed suicide last week.

And he referenced the problems suffered by Scarlett Curtis, his daughter with wife Emma Freud. 

The 18-year-old has publicly documented her struggle with depression after a botched spinal operation left her in chronic pain.

His voice broke as he said: ‘My sister took her own life after years of battles. My daughter is partly hit by it [mental health problems] because she had an operation that went wrong and spent four years in her bedroom screaming. The designer of the movie I’m working on took his life on Tuesday.’

Speaking about his sister’s death, he added: ‘I so don’t believe in thinking about what you could have done. I can’t talk about it, I get too emotional, but the circumstances of my sister’s suicide could not have been jollier, as it were.

‘They were shopping for her birthday party the next day, they couldn’t have done anything more right, and yet that was still the day she chose to take her own life. I don’t think it’s in our hands.’

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