‘Someone should have stopped my son from dying’

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A GRIEVING father has criticised mental health services for not doing more to help his son who died taking an overdose of prescription drugs.

Jared Smith was found dead at his one-bedroom flat in St Mary’s Road, Portsmouth, with empty packets of medication and letters containing unpaid bills around him.

An inquest into his death heard the 39-year-old suffered from mental health issues and anxiety and struggled in the past with alcohol and drug addiction.

Mr Smith had told his GP a week before his death on July 15 this year he was planning to take his own life.

He had taken an overdose of drugs twice before in 2013 and 2014.

Relatives said the circumstances were sadly not surprising – and that health workers should have known he needed help.

Mr Smith’s father David, who lives in Scotland, said: ‘This was predictable.

‘Knowing what I know now about how he died, someone should have stopped this.

‘He was receiving some health assistance, but someone should have spotted he was suicidal. He was quite a vulnerable adult.’

His father said they met a month before his death and his son was struggling as police had asked him to be ‘an informer’.

Mr Smith said: ‘He didn’t go into details. I said it seemed a good way of getting your legs broken, and he said; “yes, that’s what I’m worried about”.

‘It was almost like he felt intimidated by CID, or whoever it was, putting him under undue pressure.’

Mr Smith’s ex-partner Amy Robinson, a mental health nurse, said his substance misuse had ‘escalated’ his mental health problems. Ms Robinson said he had sent her text messages earlier in the year which suggested he was ‘out of his depth’ and ‘scared’.

She said: ‘He had a number of mental health issues, and they were all really quite apparent.’

In a narrative verdict, Portsmouth and South East Hampshire coroner, David Horsley, said: ‘It seems to me that he has taken his own life.

‘But I think behind this, there were a lot of anxiety and mental health problems. Although we don’t know particularly what they were, he was a very desperate young man.’

He added: ‘It’s such a shame that he saw this as the only way out.’