Pablo Taylor: Mum urges families to talk after son took his own life in lockdown

A grieving mother has opened up about how her 22-year-old son took his own life after he was 'overwhelmed' by the coronavirus lockdown.

Ben Brown was studying at Loughborough University to become an engineer with the army.

He killed himself just five weeks into the national lockdown after writing a letter to his mother, Helen, about his mental health.

Helen recalls the moment the police brought the news to her door: "He said there's been an incident, North Loughborough, so I knew it was Ben."

"I just hoped he'd had an accident, but then they confirmed he'd taken his own life."

Helen says Ben was always helping people and anyone who was low he could cheer up. She describes him as "Mr personality".

But she opens up about how her seemingly happy and vibrant son was in fact struggling under the surface.

"He was trapped, he was trapped inside" says Helen.

"He would take himself off on cycle rides but again he was on his own and we now know that Ben didn't like being on his own with his own thoughts, which is why he kept busy all of the time and when he was quiet he struggled."

Ben would take himself for cycle rides, but Helen says she realises now this didn't help as it meant he was alone with his thoughts. Credit: Helen Brown

In a survey during the height of lockdown by The Office For National Statistics found that over 70% of people said the pandemic had impacted their mental health.

Almost 1 in 5 people said they were experiencing depression, which is more than double the figure in the period leading up to the lockdown.

Helen says the only way to get over Ben's death is through talking about it.

"If you talk about it it becomes normal" she says "instead of bottling it all up."

"It's not macho to keep it inside because there's a chance you'll end up like Ben, and I wouldn't wish that on anybody."

If you're struggling with your mental health, or if you feel like the pandemic has impacted your mental well being there is help available.

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