During the events of City of Swords, she and James are shocked to discover that Laura has been cutting herself as a means of relieving stress. Due to Laura's efforts to conceal her self-harming, Ellen and James have been unaware of how Laura has been hurting herself and believe that her tendency to keep to herself is the result of social anxiety.
When Laura is hospitalized after cutting herself, Ellen confiscates Laura's talisman, a silver paper knife, and locks up all items that Laura can use to cut herself, though Ellen keeps the paper knife in her purse at all times. The knife is later recovered and given back to Laura by Vicky Mulholland, who uses the pretense of keeping it so Ellen will not have to lock it up along with the other blades in the house.
She also allows Laura to stay with Isabel Evans, one of Laura's few friends, believing that Isabel's company will let Laura recover and study with Isabel for final exams, unaware that the girls are using the time for Laura to stravagate to Talia. Ellen herself is well acquainted with Sarah Evans, Isabel's mother, and they occasionally meet up and chat about their children, remarking on Laura's former crush on Sarah's son Charlie.
When Ellen and James learn that the source of Laura's unhappiness is the family's unwillingness to speak about Laura's older sister, Julia, who was left brain-damaged after a motorcycle accident, and the belief that she needed to live for herself and Julia, the family begins attending therapy sessions together to open up and work through their issues as a family.
William Dethridge · Lucien Mullholland · Georgia O'Grady · Nick Duke · Sky Meadows · Matt Wood · Isabel Evans · Laura Reid · Ross · Julia · Sean · Emily · Rory · Caitlin
Vicky Mulholland · David Mulholland · Maura O'Grady · Ralph Lewis · Russell Lewis · Rosalind Meadows · Joyce Meadows · Rainbow Warrior · Loretta · Andy Wood · Jan Wood · Harry Wood · Eva Holbrook · Tony Evans · Sarah Evans · Charlie Evans · Ellen Reid · James Reid · Julia Reid
Ms. Beaumont · Mr. Laski · Dr. Kennedy · Tom · Katie · Alice Greaves · Mortimer Goldsmith · Laura · Paul Greaves · Jane Scott · Gus Robinson · Ayesha · Jago Jones · Celia Jones · Lucy · Brian · Stella Watkins