Author, 28, took own life after anxiety became 'entwined' with success, coroner rules

Olivia Yallop investigated the world of influencers which was featured on Start the Week
Olivia Yallop investigated the world of influencers with her work featured on Start the Week - Scribe Publications

A critically-acclaimed writer died in a pre-planned suicide in Belize after her mental health issues “became entwined” with her literary success, a coroner said.

Olivia Yallop investigated the world of online influencers in her book Break the Internet: In Pursuit of Influence.‌

The Guardian and BBC Radio 4’s Start the Week praised her 2021 book release, and spoke about her work at Cheltenham Literature Festival.

An inquest at St Pancras Coroner Court on Friday heard that her anxiety appeared to have worsened in tandem with her literary success.

A year after Break the Internet was published, the writer, aged 28, left suicide notes in her London flat and flew to Belize.‌

After spending some time in the Central American country, she took an overdose on Nov 19 2022.

‘Missed check out’

On that day the hotel porter in the Mahogany Bay Resort & Beach Club, noticed that Ms Yallop had missed her check out time.

He found her lying in bed and raised concerns with security, fearing she had died.

Sergeant Woods, of Belize police force, was called to the scene and discovered Ms Yallop’s body and suicide notes in the room.

When her family returned to her flat in London they discovered further notes and concluded she had planned her death overseas.

‘Not a random act’

Ms Yallop’s mother said: “I think from the point of view of factual evidence supplied, the fact that when we visited her flat in London it was quite clear, both from the way she left her flat, but also further notes left there, that it was planned before she left the UK.

“It was not, therefore, a random and sudden act.”

Her father told the inquest that she had struggled with mental health throughout school and university, and that continued when she moved to London.

Dr Richard Brittain, the assistant coroner, said: “We know that Olivia did have quite consistent problems with her mental health, and that was ongoing.

“This was entwined with the success that she had with her career; it seems to be quite interlinked with her success and therefore her anxiety.”

Broaden your horizons with award-winning British journalism. Try The Telegraph free for 1 month, then enjoy 1 year for just $9 with our US-exclusive offer.