The sister of reality TV star Lil’ Chris held back tears on Thursday as she talked about the impact of his death on the family.
The pop star, real name Chris Hardman, died in March, when he was found hanging at his home at the age of 24, after struggling with depression.
Her voice cracking with emotion, Hannah Hardman told This Morning that her “beloved brother”, who was also “one of my best friends”, had not appeared any different in the days before his death.
“He was just the same Chris, I think that’s the most disturbing thing, that, you feel as big sister especially and my parents as well and everybody who loved him, that I should have done something more, I could have done something more,” she told the ITV show.
“But he was just the same Chris because he never wanted to worry anyone else.”
She said that his “struggle” with mental health began when Lil’ Chris, who shot to fame in Channel 4 show Rock School, became an adolescent.
“He was always very open about it, which was a positive thing,” she said.
Asked how the family knew when he was suffering, she told the programme: “He didn’t need to say anything. You could just see it because it wasn’t just depression… that’s such a small part of it…. He was anxious.
“He was paranoid about different things. He’d get himself really worried in loops of things.
“You’d sit and talk and talk and talk about it and you’d always think that you’d resolved it but I think deep down he never could resolve it because even though he’d spoken about it, inside his brain was going at 100 miles an hour.”
She said that she hoped that by coming on the programme and talking about what had happened she could help “save some families from going through this because it’s the most destroying thing.
“There’s such a stigma and taboo about mental health and I think that needs to stop,” she said.
“Even though Chris felt he could talk to people close to him about it, obviously being in the public eye, there’s a lot of stigma and whether or not that worried him, I’m not sure. He wanted everyone to be educated that having a mental health disorder was the same as say, having cancer or a broken leg.”
While there were adverts about testicular cancer and road safety on TV “actually our biggest killer is not being talked about”, she said. “That needs to stop now because it’s already taken my beloved brother.”
She added: “He was the person that everybody saw. He was never anybody else. He was always just Chris. He was kind and generous and he always thought of everybody else before him.”
An inquest has been adjourned until July 28.