A FATHER has described how he had begged medical staff to section his son for treatment to his mental health problems in the period leading up to his suicide.

Speaking at inquest into 19-year-old Callum Riley, his father David said he felt let down by the Tees Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust which had “missed opportunities” to prevent the tragedy.

Mr Riley, of Burnhope, County Durham, said: “When I took him to the Lanchester Road hospital I was begging them to section him.

“Every time I saw anybody about Callum I wanted him detained for treatment. Nobody apart from his drug counsellor acknowledged his mental health problems.

“All that I was told was that he had to sort his drug problem out before they gave him any treatment. But Callum told us he took the drugs to forget the trauma (he suffered) when was 11-years-old.

Mr Riley added Callum’s GP had diagnosed him as a nine-out-of-ten risk of suicide.

“I am disgusted at the lack of support he got from the trust. There was a lack of joined up thinking,” he said.

Callum had been threatened by drug dealers in the weeks leading to his death on November 19, the inquest heard.

Giving evidence at the Crook Civic Centre, DC Joanne Days said statements taken from family described how Callum had difficulties from the aged of 11, after the death of his grandfather, followed by his mother’s diagnosis with skin cancer and then the death of his grandmother. These events had a profound effect on his life and at 17 his father became aware he had a drug problem.

Callum made several attempts to take his own life, each time leaving a suicide note.

DC Days said: “The last 18 months of his life had been marred by drug abuse and debts from his habit which resulted in his parents having to pay thousands of pounds in debts to dealers.”

Ruling death by suicide, Coroner Crispin Oliver said: “I am concerned about some of the aspects that have come out of the serious incident review by Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust.

“I do commend them for facing up to doing the review and being honest about it.

“Callum had a history of self harm and suicide attempts.

"He was being treated by mental health services, crisis liaison and access teams and substance abuse services. There was no overall comprehensive assessment.”

Speaking to Mr Riley at the conclusion of the hearing, he said: “I do not expect anybody to get what they call closure. I don’t know quite what that means in a situation like this.

“If you can receive some clarity out of this which might help you, I hope we have done that.”

Samaritans is available round-the-clock, every single day of the year, to listen and offer confidential support when things are getting to you, by phone on 116 123, emailjo@samaritans.org or find the details for your local branch at www.samaritans.org.