FRIENDS and family of tragic teenager Aleysha Rothwell took to the town hall steps to call for more support for young people with mental health issues in Bolton.
Around 50 people sprayed their hair purple, wore ribbons, blew vuvuzelas and set off balloons in memory of the 16-year-old, who was found dead at her Breightmet foster family’s home in April.
It is understood Aleysha had a history of depression and self-harm, and friends say the day before she died, the St Catherine’s Academy pupil was seen by medical staff but told she was “just having a bad day”.
Protestors jumped over the barriers to put a banner around town hall pillars, causing a stir among security staff who took it down — only for it to be taped back in place.
Meanwhile a tombola and collection were also held to raise money for a fund to pay for Aleysha’s headstone.
The purple-themed event — Aleysha’s favourite colour — was organised by 18-year-old Adrienne Wood and Pam Parish, aged 44.
Pam, who lives in Heaton, said her family had experienced at first-hand the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in Bolton after her daughter Chloe was referred into the service.
Pam said: “If you are brave enough to go and admit that you have problems, and that you need help, then you need to be looked after. At the very least Aleysha should have been admitted and assessed.”
Also at the event was Aleysha’s mum Gaynor Rothwell and her sister Karly Mcloughlin.
Gaynor said she is still struggling to come to terms with Aleysha’s death.
She said: “The family has been through hell. It’s like a bad nightmare.
“Today is about raising awareness of mental health issues. We don’t want any other family to suffer like we have.”