Warning: This article contains content that may disturb some people.
A man who took his own life the day after his dog was killed by an alligator was turned away by a medical facility the night before the tragedy occurred.
On May 18 Andrew Epp, from Florida in the United States, reportedly discovered his dead chocolate labrador in a park.
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A neighbour of Epp told News Channel 8 they saw a man with a lifeless dog slumped over his shoulders at Palmetto, Manatee County.
The channel also reported that the dog was an assistance dog for Epp, 36, who suffered from mental health issues.
Friends and family of Epp said he was so upset by the loss of his dog that he ended his own life the next day.
"It was just such a sad situation, he couldn't deal with it," family friend Kayla Weston said.
However Epp's sister-in-law, Ashley Epp, said the string of events was even more tragic than they appear.
"The night before he passed, Andrew's family were begging local facilities to admit him. They were turned away and told that, because he wasn't vocalising that he wanted to hurt himself, the earliest he could even see a doctor was August 2019," Ashely Epp posted in a GoFundMe page set up for the family.
"In March of 2005, Andrew's older brother Paul also took his own life after years of struggling with his mental health."
Ashley Epp says she hopes the loss of her brother can bring light to mental health issues in the US and help fix a broken system.
"Andrew's family's hope is that no one with mental health issues would ever be turned away when they or their families are seeking care."
Where to find help and support:
- Need to Talk? - Call or text 1737
- Lifeline - 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland
- Youthline - 0800 376 633, text 234, email email@example.com or online chat
- Samaritans - 0800 726 666
- Depression Helpline - 0800 111 757
- Suicide Crisis Helpline - 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)