Hebburn mum shares heartbreak after losing 'cheeky' son who took his own life

14.08.22 nicola robertson tyler mum ncj media
Nicola is now in the process of setting up a support group called Suicide Affects Family & Friends Everywhere (SAFFE). Credit: NCJ MEDIA

A devastated mum has opened up about the loss of her "happy-go-lucky" son who took his own life at the age of 22.

Tyler Robertson died while working away in London as an electrician.

His mum Nicola Robertson, 42, said she knew something was wrong when she was unable to get in touch with him on the phone.

Tyler's boss went to the Camden apartment he was staying in after he didn't show up for work.

Police then arrived at his family home in Hebburn, South Tyneside, and gave Nicola and his dad Lee, 50, the heart-breaking news.

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Nicola, who is also mum to two daughters, Skye, 21, and Libby, 18, said: "I don't know if it was a mother's instinct but I had a gut feeling when I couldn't get in touch with him and he hadn't rang me.

"Tyler was always outgoing, happy-go-lucky and he was always the class clown. He was dead cheeky and he would do anything for anybody.

"I knew he hadn't been well for a few weeks. I could tell by his mood and his mannerisms. He wasn't himself."

Tyler took his own life in July 2020 after battling mental health difficulties.

Nicola said her son had been struggling in the months prior to him travelling down to London for work.

Tyler's mum described her son as 'cheeky' and said he would do anything for anybody Credit: NCJ MEDIA

She said his mood was low and he had admitted to her that he had tried to end his life.

On one occasion, he was taken to South Tyneside District Hospital in South Shields after ringing the police and asking them for help.

Nicola said: "He was dead sensitive. He took things in and they played on his mind but he didn't let on. In around May time I saw the change in him.

"I tried to ring the doctors and get him help. He went out one night and he rang the police and he said 'I need help, I can't live in his life anymore'.

"We rang the police and reported him missing and they said 'we've already had a phone call from him'. The police found him at 7 the following morning and took him to hospital.

"He used to go to Morgan's Gym in Pelaw. He was a proper gym fanatic, he was at the gym everyday. It wasn't until after he died that I found out that he had messaged the owner saying 'Can you not just sneak me in the back door because I feel like I need it right now'.

"The gym helped him a lot. I think he was struggling because he couldn't go. He must have been otherwise he wouldn't have sent that message to the gym owner."

Nicola said Tyler had been laid off from his job as an electrician due to the Covid-19 pandemic. She said he was offered work in London and so he travelled down to the capital for the job.

Nicola said Tyler had worked away before with his dad Lee, and that his mood seemed to pick up. She said the following Monday, on 13 July, he told her that he was going for a few pints with a lad from work.

'I knew he wasn't coming back - I had a gut feeling'

She said: "I told him to watch what he was doing and I'll speak to him on the Tuesday."

However she was unable to get in touch with her son the following day.

Nicola said: "Come the Wednesday I knew for a fact he wasn't coming back. I had a gut feeling."

Nicola said Lee, who also works as an electrician, rang Tyler's boss and he told him he would ring him back. She said: "At this point, his boss had literally just found him.

"He hadn't turned into work on the Tuesday. When he went into work on the Wednesday the other lads on the job told him his electrician hadn't turned in for two days.

"He went around to the apartment where Tyler was staying and that where he found him. About 15 minutes later, the police knocked on the door saying our son's passed away."

Nicola said Tyler was well-known in his home town and hundreds of people turned up to his funeral at Hebburn Cemetery. She said she also received numerous messages from people she didn't know.

She said: "He was just a lovely lad and he had lots of friends. Even when he died people were messaging me from all around the world - I thought how did he know these people. Whenever he was on holiday or working away he would talk to anybody.

"He had a great relationship with his dad. His dad always says he's lost his best friend, his son, his work mate and his gym partner. They used to work together, go to the gym together and go to the pictures together."

Tyler with his sisters Skye and Libby. Credit: NCJ MEDIA

Nicola said she is proud of her daughters for the way they have handled their brother's death.

She said: "The year Tyler died, I tried to push them to still do their studies.

"My youngest daughter was doing her GCSEs and my oldest daughter was doing her teaching qualification. I didn't want them to struggle and chuck their careers away or put them off.

"Libby has just done her A Levels and she's doing nursing in September and Skye has graduated as a primary school teacher. I'm so proud of them. They didn't feel like it but they pushed through and they did it."

'It's easier to talk to somebody who's experienced it'

Nicola is now in the process of setting up a support group called Suicide Affects Family & Friends Everywhere (SAFFE). She said: "I have my good days and my bad days that's why I wanted to start this group up.

"With suicide it's totally different, there's no answers. Tyler never left a note and he wiped his phone. So I have got nothing whatsoever. He hasn't been in the right frame of mind, no one is when they do that. There was no alcohol in his system and no drugs in his system.

"When I talk to somebody who has lost somebody to suicide I feel like I can relate to them. I try to put Tyler to the back of my mind and focus on helping them and that makes me feel better. But when I'm on my own it's totally different.

"I have met a few people since it's happened who have been in the same situation. I think it's easier to talk to somebody who's been there and experienced it."

Nicola plans to hold group meetings at St Oswald's Church in Hebburn and she has also set up a group on Facebook. The first meeting will be held from 6.30pm until 8.30pm on 5 September. Anybody is welcome to attend.

Mental Health Support Resources

If you feel like harming or hurting yourself or other people, you should call 999 or go to your nearest Accident and Emergency (A&E) department.

For non-emergency situations, you can visit your GP or call NHS 111, where a trained nurse can give you advice.

If you have a mental health problem and are experiencing a mental health crisis, you can contact your local NHS Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment Service.

Gateshead - 0191 814 8899Hartlepool - 01429 285 858Middlesbrough - 01642 835 295Northumberland - 0303 123 1146Newcastle - 0191 814 8899North Durham - 0191 441 5738North Tyneside – 0303 123 1146Redcar and Cleveland - 01642 838 300South Durham (includes Darlington) - 01325 552 230South Tyneside - 0303 123 1145Stockton - 01642 524 714Sunderland - 0303 123 1145

There is also a list of charities that can help here.