A heartbroken dad paid tribute to his son who took his own life just months before his A Level exams.
Carl Wales from Rainhill, lost his son Rowan when he was just 17 years old in February 2016.
The 52-year-old said Rowan who "got on with everyone", was doing well at school and had landed several places to study Astrophysics at university.
Carl said his death shows that "suicide doesn't discriminate" against anyone, and why understanding the signs are so important.
Carl told the ECHO : "He was doing well at school, studying for his A Levels. We'd just been down to Exeter University for his interview to get on his Astrophysics course.
"He seemed fine. He was a bit quiet at times but there wasn't much difference in his behaviour.
"It was a really quick period – a week and a half, two weeks from when he was going a bit quiet to when he took his own life."
On the day Rowan died, Carl said: "I was working from home and my daughter Sophie, his older sister, was at home.
"She took the dog for a walk. I was working downstairs and he was upstairs doing bits of work.
"He was up and down, sitting with me and doing his work and being upstairs.
"I was the one who was first alerted to it. I called the police and then Sophie came back."
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Carl said losing a loved one to suicide "changes you as a person" and "affects everything, everyday."
Paying tribute, he described Rowan as someone who was funny and well liked.
He left behind mum Carolyn, 52, dad Carl, 51, brother Alistair, 27, and sister Sophie, 25.
Carl said: "The best way of describing his personality is being Rowan.
"He was always up for a bit of a joke, he was funny.
"He was doing well at school and he liked his sport."
Rowan who was a student at Rainhill High School had been given offers to four universities to study Astrophysics.
Helplines and support groups
The following are helplines and support networks for people to talk to, mostly listed on the NHS Choices website
- Samaritans (116 123) 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 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 an organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
- Mind (0300 123 3393) is a charity providing advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.
- 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.
- Hub of Hope is the UK’s most comprehensive national mental health support database. Download the free app, visit hubofhope.co.uk or text HOPE to 85258 to find relevant services near you.
- Young Persons Advisory Service – Providing mental health and emotional wellbeing services for Liverpool’s children, young people and families. tel: 0151 707 1025 email: email@example.com
- Paul's Place – providing free counselling and group sessions to anyone living in Merseyside who has lost a family member or friend to suicide. Tel: 0151 226 0696 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Carl said: "He was someone who people wouldn't associate with suicide. Someone who seems in a good place and in a good place academically.
"I think it just reinforces the point that suicide doesn't discriminate.
"There's nobody who's immune to it. I think that goes back to people understanding about suicide and that it doesn't just happen to certain people.
"If everyone's open to the thought of 'how would I deal with someone who's having thoughts of suicide', and if you know how to deal with it, then you can save a life."
Since losing Rowan, Carl has signed up to be a volunteer with the suicide prevention charity PAPYRUS.
He now regularly delivers presentations around suicide prevention in his workplace and sign posts people to the best places to get help and information.
Carl said: "If you've not been made aware of potential signs you don't recognise them.
"I think the key part is raising awareness and making people feel comfortable to have a conversation to talk about it.
"I never want anyone to go through what we have gone through as a family. I think if we can do anything to prevent a suicide, to prevent another family from having the life experience that we've had, it's well worth it."
PAPYRUS has created a new guide for parents whose children are feeling suicidal.
The new guide offers both practical and professional advice to help parents break the silence around self-harm and suicide, and to encourage them to talk to their children before it's too late.
Carl said the guide is so important in giving people the confidence to ask someone whether they feel suicidal or whether they are having suicidal thoughts.
It was commissioned by the mum and dad of a 15-year-old boy who took his own life, parents who were frustrated by the lack of information and resources for worried families
If you have been affected by any of the details mentioned in this story there are people who can help you.
Most people grieve when they lose something or someone important to them.
The way grief affects you depends on lots of things, including what kind of loss you have suffered, your upbringing, your beliefs or religion, your age, your relationships, and your physical and mental health.
Grieving is a totally normal process but there are way to get help if you need support.
Your GP is a good place to start. They can give you advice about other support services, refer you to a counsellor, or prescribe medication if needed.
Or you can contact support organisations directly, such as Cruse Bereavement Care (0808 808 1677) Samaritans (116 123) or Love Jasmine.
Ged Flynn, Chief Executive of PAPYRUS, said: “That family felt utterly helpless as they attended the hospital emergency department prior to their schoolboy son’s death by suicide.
“No parent should ever have to go through that and it was their heartfelt wish that a new resource should be produced which is full of clear and accessible evidence-based advice and vital information to help keep our children suicide-safe.”
Another bereaved parent, Sangeeta Mahajan from London, who lost her 20-year-old son Sagaar to suicide, said: “Parenting a child who is deeply despondent is a difficult job.
"It is a lonely and powerless place to be. I hope PAPYRUS and the valuable information in this leaflet will empower parents to be able to connect with their children at a time when that connection can be life-saving."
Almost 40% of the calls, texts and emails to the charity’s HOPELINEUK service are from someone who is concerned about a young person who may be having thoughts of suicide. Around 80% of those are parents.
The new guide, Supporting Your Child – Self-Harm and Suicide, has been endorsed by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine.
Dr Catherine Hayhurst, RCEM Mental Health Lead, said: "The Royal College of Emergency Medicine highly recommends this guide for parents, recognising that the experience for parents whose child has self-harmed or is suicidal is incredibly challenging.
“This guide is practical and will help parents understand what may be happening with their child and access support for them as parents."
The guide can be downloaded by going clicking here.
PAPYRUS says those who struggled during lockdown now face longer-term emotional distress and are not getting the support services they are used to.
Ged Flynn added: “Many mums and dads have been worried sick as they see their children unable to access their usual support due to recent restrictions.
“As we gradually open society back up again some children remain on lengthy waiting lists for treatment and, as families wait, parents often fear for their children’s lives.
“In my view, this is scandalous. Saving young lives is no longer a national priority and we must change that.
“For many parents, suicide is the unspoken dread. This daily unsaid fear may be crippling many adults who have nowhere to turn to in their darkest hour. Meanwhile, children continue to suffer mental anguish and distress, sometimes covering up their feelings because they feel powerless too.
“Our new resource aims to fill a real gap. It provides hope to those who feel alone, cut off and frightened in supporting the children they love so much.
“We are very keen to get the message out to parents and caregivers that you are not alone. We are here for you.”
Suicide is the biggest killer of young people in the UK. PAPYRUS aims to reduce the number of young people who take their own lives by breaking down the stigma around suicide and equipping people with the skills to recognise and respond to suicidal behaviour.
HOPELINEUK is the charity’s confidential helpline service providing practical advice and support to young people with thoughts of suicide and anyone concerned about a young person who may have thoughts of suicide.
HOPELINEUK is staffed by trained professionals, offering a telephone, text and email service.
For practical, confidential suicide prevention help and advice please contact PAPYRUS HOPELINEUK on 0800 068 4141, text 07860 039967 or email email@example.com