Covid restrictions played part in father's death, inquest told

Submitted pictures of William Smith by the family
Byline: Sonya Duncan

In messages to his family before his death William Smitha sked for more to be done for men's mental health. Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

The father of a man who took his own life said the pandemic played a part in his death, an inquest has heard. 

William Thomas Smith, 35, was found dead at his home on Warman Way, Ashwellthorpe, near Wymondham, on July 6, 2021. 

Senior coroner for Norfolk, Jacqueline Lake, held an inquest into his death on the morning of November 30 at Norwich County Hall. Mr Smith’s parents, William and Ann Smith, attended. 

Submitted pictures of William Smith by the family
Byline: Sonya Duncan

In messages to his family before his death William Smitha sked for more to be done for men's mental health. Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

The inquest heard a witness statement from Mr Smith’s father, highlighting concerns over the effect of Covid restrictions on his mental wellbeing. 

In a statement, Mr Smith Snr said he felt that his son, who enjoyed being social, was an “easy-come, easy-go" type of person. 

He described him as being “the life-and-soul of the party” but admitted that there had been a number of factors that contributed to his death. These included having to isolate due to Covid restrictions, having irregular work, limited access to his daughters, debt, and hearing voices in his head. 

The father-of-three grew up in Norwich and attended Heather Avenue Infant School and Firside Junior School. After leaving high school he went into construction, working on projects including the new hospital site and Primark. 

Submitted pictures of William Smith by the family
Byline: Sonya Duncan

In messages to his family before his death William Smitha sked for more to be done for men's mental health. Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Less than two weeks before his death, Mr Smith Jr had enjoyed a family day out swimming before helping to tidy his parent’s garden and staying for dinner. Mr Smith Snr described it as “a good weekend”. 

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In a statement written by Susan O’Hagan, of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT), she said Mr Smith Jr had been seen by staff at Hellesdon Hospital after an attempted overdose on July 14, and was prescribed antidepressants. He was discharged from NSFT on July 21, and both the Trust and his GP received no more contact.  

Ms Lake recorded a verdict of death by hanging. 

His mother had previously described her son as "an adoring dad" and said she was concerned that young men were struggling under "immense pressure" and needed support. 

  • If you need help and support, call Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust’s First Response helpline 0808 196 3494 or the Samaritans on 116 123. Both services are available 24 hours 7 days a week.  You can also download the Stay Alive app on Apple & Android.  

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