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Bridge leap: Family tells of fight with depression

Chrishna Stuart, 36, also known as ‘Butta’.

Chrishna Stuart, 36, also known as ‘Butta’.

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CHRISHNA Stuart was a mother of three.

By JADE RUSSELL

Tribune Staff Reporter

jrussell@tribunemedia.net

THE woman who jumped off  Paradise Island bridge on Sunday suffered severe depression and was temporarily admitted to Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre for psychiatric care last year, according to her shattered relatives, who wonder what more they could have done to prevent the tragedy. 

Chrishna Stuart, 36, also known as ‘Butta’, was a mother of three and a wife to her high school sweetheart. She worked at Atlantis as a security officer for over a decade.

Police said on Sunday, they received an anonymous call that the distressed woman was trying to jump from the bridge. When officers arrived at the scene, they didn’t see her but were alerted by people on a nearby vessel who retrieved her unresponsive body from the water.

The woman’s mother, Yvonne Bethel-Stuart, said her daughter was kind and went out of her way to help others.

“If she had just talked to someone, you know, and say she had a problem, but she never talked,” said the Abaco resident, holding back tears.

“Even Friday, she called me asking me if I was okay.”

“I was in Eleuthera, but she always makes a regular call like every day.”

Michelle Bethel-Gibson, Ms Stuart’s aunt, said her niece suffered a mental breakdown in June 2023. That’s when relatives learned she had been hurting in silence. She said after the breakdown, the family began seeking ongoing psychiatric care for her and, at one point, admitted her to Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre.

 Mrs Bethel-Gibson, said she began living with the woman for a time after her breakdown, giving her full-time care and monitoring.

 She said her niece struggled with trauma she didn’t talk about.

 “There was a combination of things over the years,” she said. “And so there was a lot of trauma. I would say they had diagnosed her as severely depressed.

 “And we went through psychiatric and psychological assessments. She went to the doctor every week. And finally, when it became so extreme that we couldn’t continue with the outpatient, we had her admitted to Sandilands.”

 The family believed the woman was improving after her time in Sandilands and saw no signs of struggles in January or the holiday season.

 Mrs Bethel-Gibson said eventually, the woman returned to her home and to work.

 “She was doing well,” she said.

 She said Ms Stuart ran away from home the day she committed suicide.

 “I feel like she broke again, and we didn’t take precautions; we didn’t have time,” she said.

 She said she learned her niece jumped from a bridge after seeing a video circulating online.

 She wants more sensitivity around mental health issues, noting that people criticised her family on social media after the woman’s death.

 Andica Miller, a close friend, said she works at Atlantis as a cook and saw her friend often on her way to work.

 “I feel like I failed her,” she said. “But she never showed that side to say that she’s hurting or something is wrong.

 “That really shook me up to say what went wrong. Like, what could I have done? That’s why you have to check on your strong people, whether it’s family or friends because you never know that one call or that conversation could help so much.”

Comments

bahamianson 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Very sad. Condolences to the family and all affected. My thoughts and prayers are with you all. May God keep you .

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GodSpeed 3 months, 1 week ago

"She wants more sensitivity around mental health issues, noting that people criticised her family on social media after the woman’s death."

Facebook is awful, try not to use it.

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trueBahamian 3 months, 1 week ago

The Ttibune disables crime articles for comments. Wjy did they enable for this situation? This is a tragedy. Leaving g this open doesn't respect the family. You run the risk of some insensitive person putting something here to add to the family's pain.

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