A young man who split up with his girlfriend and lost his job during lockdown took his own life after struggling with his mental health, an inquest heard. Oliver Smith, 28, was found hung at his home in Rochdale by his dad on January 18, this year.
An inquest at Rochdale coroners court heard Mr Smith, who was known as Ollie, had endured a ‘difficult pandemic’ and was suffering with depression. The Huddersfield University electrical engineering graduate had moved in with his girlfriend from him at start of lockdown in March 2020, but they split up and he moved out in November that year.
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The following March he was made redundant and then struggled to find a new job. Giving evidence at the inquest on Monday, Mr Smith’s mum Sonia Smith described him as a ‘unique character’
She said: “The biggest issue he had was trying to get a job. He had some quite strong views on things and that could impact him in terms of getting a job and keeping a job.
“But if you got him in a social setting with his family, he was the life and soul of the party. He loved to chat, but that didn’t always come over.”
Mr Smith, who played lacrosse for Rochdale Lacrosse Club, drank alcohol and smoked cannabis as a way of dealing with his depression, the inquest heard. He also took spice for a short spell because he’d learned through research that it wouldn’t show up when he was drug tested at work.
The inquest heard how on Thursday, January 13, Mr Smith was meant to attend a family gathering at his grandmother’s house following the birth of his nephew. However that afternoon his mum found him drunk on the settee at her home.
She sent him home and later that night he called her in a ‘distressed state and told her he ‘did not want to be here’. Mrs Smith then rushed to her son’s home on Mansfield Road in Bamford.
She said: “I put my arms round him and held him for about 10 minutes. He was very, very angry and upset.
“He said the world was against him, that everything had gone wrong. I just kept saying to him you have a big family, we all love you, you are never going to be on your own.”
Mrs Smith said she then spent a ‘couple of hours with him trying to find out what was wrong’ and urged him to seek professional help, which he promised to do. That weekend Mr Smith spoke to his family of him on a number of occasions and ‘seemed in good spirits’, the inquest.
But on Tuesday, January 18, after Mr Smith didn’t show up to do some work at his dad Kelvin’s house he was found by his father hung in the front room of his home on Mansfield Road. A note was on the floor underneath him.
The inquest heard earlier that day Mr Smith had spoken to his GP about his depression and suicidal thoughts and been given an urgent referral to mental health services.
Samaritans (116 123) samaritans.org operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at email@example.com , write to Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK, PO Box 9090, STIRLING , FK8 2SA and visit www.samaritans.org/branches to find your nearest branch.
For support for people feeling suicidal, if you are concerned about someone or if you are bereaved by suicide see http://shiningalightonsuicide.org.uk
CALM (0800 58 58 58) thecalmzone.net has a helpline is for men who are down or have hit a wall for any reason, who need to talk or find information and support. They’re open 5pm to midnight, 365 days a year.
Greater Manchester Bereavement Service Greater Manchester Bereavement Service can help to find support for anyone in Greater Manchester who has been bereaved or affected by a death. No one needs to feel alone as they deal with their grief. www.greater-manchester-bereavement-service.org.uk
Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.
PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organization supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
Beat Eating Disorders: Beat provides helplines for adults and young people offering support and information about eating disorders. These helplines are free to call from all phones. Adult Helpline: 0808 801 0677, Studentline: 0808 801 0811, Youthline: 0808 801 0711. www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk
Anorexia & Bulimia Care: ABC provide on-going care, emotional support and practical guidance for anyone affected by eating disorders, those struggling personally and parents, families and friends. Helpline: 03000 11 12 13. www.anorexiabulimiacare.org.uk/
Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts. Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying studentsagainstdepression.org
For information and links to charities and organizations that can help with substance abuse, visit https://www.supportline.org.uk/problems/drugs/
Toxicology tests found no evidence of drug or alcohol use. A post mortem gave the cause of death as hanging.
Assistant coroner Alex Preston gave a conclusion of suicide. Addressing Mr Smith’s family she added: “Oliver was very obviously loved by you all.
“He should have had a long life ahead of him. He seems like a kind and helpful man who had a difficult pandemic.
“He split in his relationship, he struggled to find a work, he was reluctant to seek even when his mental health seriously declined. I find this to be far too common in young men of his age. It’s of great regret that he didn’ t seek help or share with his family how he was feeling, because I’m sure you would have helped.”