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Alex Wheeler took his life while suffering depression after losing job

By Poppy Jeffery

A young man from Sittingbourne suffering with depression after losing his job took his own life, a coroner ruled.

Alex Wheeler was about to celebrate his 22nd birthday when the tragedy happened.

The former Borden Grammar and Fulston Manor pupil left home to study music technology before moving to Hampton in Surrey, taking a job in insurance.

Alex Wheeler
Alex Wheeler

His mum, Suzanne Middleton-Elliott, of Ruins Barn Road, Sittingbourne, said she last spoke to him on October 9.

It later transpired Mr Wheeler had lost his job in insurance, due to time-keeping issues.

The coroner was told he was found on November 16 by a neighbour, who called for paramedics. Mr Wheeler had hanged himself.

He was rushed to hospital, and doctors turned off his life-support at Kingston Hospital four days later.

Mr Wheeler had ignored his mum’s attempts to speak to him before his death, and she said she never thought he would do
what he did.

Speaking following the inquest, she said: “I did a bit of investigation into his emails to help the coroner build a picture.

“I found he had lost his job, but had told us he didn’t have any money problems even though he’d had no income since August.

Mum Suzanne Middleton-Elliott
Mum Suzanne Middleton-Elliott

“He was very private and must have found it hard, been embarrassed, or couldn’t find a way to say.

“He’d applied for jobs but hadn’t found any, and went into a complete downward spiral. If he’d had a job then he’d be here.”

She described him as very kind, talented, funny, and caring, but said he couldn’t articulate what he needed.

“He didn’t give us the opportunity to help him,” she added.

“He was very private and must have found it hard, been embarrassed, or couldn’t find a way to say" - Suzanne Middleton-Elliott

At the inquest at Surrey Coroner’s Court, a conclusion was reached his death was suicide and the cause was a hypoxic brain injury caused by hanging.

Since his death, Suzanne has been working to raise awareness of mental health issues, especially in young men, by visiting schools in Swale and delivering training for teachers to help them spot the signs someone might be struggling.

She plans to keep working with organisations, and hopes to set up a charity in his name aimed at helping men communicate their problems.

For confidential support, call the Samaritans on 116 123.

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