Home U.K Mum's heartbreaking plea to universities after son's death during COVID-19 lockdown

Mum's heartbreaking plea to universities after son's death during COVID-19 lockdown

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Mother Lesley warned that if it could happen to her NHS volunteer son, then “it could happen to anyone”. She has set up the R WorldFoundation to support students at universities with their struggles. Lesley, from Canterbury, said: “Robbie was incredibly kindhearted and loved by everybody. 

“He took his own life during a bout of depression so we figured we had to do something, because if this could happen to Robbie, it could happen to anyone.”

Robbie, whose father died in 2019, had experienced short bouts of depression at university, but his mental health declined during the pandemic. 

The keen poet visited a GP for help in July where an inquest revealed he described having “a history of depression” and low mood.

Robbie told Lesley he was going out for a run but she became concerned and reported his disappearance to police when he did not return home. 

Officers discovered his body the next day after tracing his phone using a lost device location app.

Lesley said: “It was a very quick decline really. Before he told people he was struggling, he obviously had been struggling a bit but trying to manage it himself. 

But it got to the point where he couldn’t anymore. “I just think it was probably too late. He needed to get help a lot earlier on. He was the perfect son. He just did everything right.”

Lesley added: “Robbie lit up the room. He was just perfect, really. “He was so intelligent as well, and worked so hard.”

The grieving mother hopes to raise money to provide mental health first aid training to university lecturers, who can then support students.

Erin Quigley, 23, and Lydia Fallon, 22, met Robbie at university and they lived together in digs. They now help to run the charity with other friends.

The pair said: “If more lecturers and more tutors were trained in mental health first aid then maybe he could have just gone for a chat with them, just to say ‘this is how I’m feeling’.” 

The Daily Express has launched a Fair Deal For Students campaign calling for rent rebates, better mental health support and hardship funding.

British students are among the most likely to say their mental health has worsened during the pandemic, according to an international survey by student services company Chegg.org.

It found 70 percent of the British students polled said their mental health has suffered during the pandemic.

And they were among the unhappiest undergraduates from 21 different countries.

Dan Rosensweig, of Chegg, said: “One thing that unites students around the globe is that they have experienced first-hand the greatest disruption to education the world has ever known.”  

• Whatever you’re going through, you can call Samaritans free any time on 116 123 or email [email protected]  



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