NEWS
04/01/2018 22:10 GMT | Updated 05/01/2018 06:46 GMT

Sophie Smith's Family 'Fear For The Worst' After Police Reveal Missing Student Left Notes

'In our hearts we hold every hope she will return safe and well.'

Police searching for missing Sophie Smith, who went missing in the early hours of Boxing Day, have said the 21-year-old left notes for her loved ones.

The missing university student, form Gorleston, Norfolk, had been suffering severe anxiety and depression, and was receiving treatment for her mental health, police said.

Norfolk Police said her mother and close family and friends had been supporting her through this difficult time.

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Sophie Smith had left notes, police said.

The young woman left her home in Gorleston without her mobile phone.

She was seen on CCTV at about 3am running in the direction of the beach.

Police helicopters, lifeboats and fire crews have been searching for Ms Smith since her disappearance.

Inspector Will Drummond said on Thursday: “We know from speaking to her family that Sophie had previously spoken about her intention to enter the sea to take her own life.

“Sadly, we can also confirm that Sophie had left a note and messages for loved ones.”

Sophie’s mother, Lynn Shaw, said: “Sophie’s step-father Kevin and I would like to thank the public and police for their continued support and dedication in searching for Sophie.

“In our hearts we hold every hope she will return safe and well. However, as a family, knowing the troubles she was experiencing, we do fear the worst for our little girl

“Sophie had openly discussed how she was struggling and was receiving treatment. I would urge anyone suffering anxiety or depression not to fight that battle alone and seek help.”

Useful websites and helplines:

Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.

Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393.

Get Connected is a free advice service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: help@getconnected.org.uk 

HopeLine runs a confidential advice helpline if you are a young person at risk of suicide or are worried about a young person at risk of suicide. Mon-Fri 10-5pm and 7pm-10pm. Weekends 2pm-5pm on 0800 068 41 41.

Maytree is a sanctuary for the suicidal in north London in a non-medical setting. For help or to enquire about a stay, call 020 7263 7070.