"She said: 'One of the side affects of the medication he was on is increased suicidal thoughts'."
Widow of Swansea City steward found hanged feels 'let down' by health services
Friday, February 26, 2010, 10:00
THE heartbroken widow of a football steward who died tragically has said she feels badly let down by mental health services in Swansea.
Lifelong Swans fan Chris Norman is believed to have committed suicide last week.
The 40-year-old was found hanged in Ravenhill Park, following two previous suicide attempts.
His wife Lisa said her husband had struggled to come to terms with the tragic deaths of his father and brother and had been battling with depression for many years.
Chris began working at the Vetch as a steward when he was around 18 years old.
"He was really thrilled to be working for the club he loved," added Lisa, who had been with Chris for the past 17 years.
Once the Swans moved to the Liberty Stadium in 2005, Chris then became a steward on the coaches for away games.
"With some away games he would not get home until about 3am and I used to tell him not to wake me up but he always would," she said.
"He was so excited and would tell me who scored and how the Swans played.
"His favourite player was Lee Trundle because he was such a man of the people."
However, despite putting on a brave face to family and friends, Lisa said Chris had been battling his demons for decades.
"His father died when he was around 17," she added.
"His dad went out in Chris's car on his own. I think Chris always blamed himself, saying if he had been using his car that day then his father would not have died."
Tragedy struck again in 2002, when Chris's younger brother Dean died from a fractured skull.
"He was a proud man and he was good at putting on a front," recalled 33-year-old Lisa.
"But when he was having a bad time he was a different person and it was really frightening to see someone you loved deteriorate like that.
"He became very ill over the past six months. I was worried he had cancer because he was so underweight. I sent him to the doctor for tests, but nothing was wrong medically, it was his depression manifesting itself physically."
His anti-depressant dosage was later doubled, but things failed to improve.
She said: "One of the side affects of the medication he was on is increased suicidal thoughts.
"I don't know whether this was a factor in his death. But I definitely think the system let Chris down badly. He should have been sectioned two weeks before he died."
On February 15, the body of the keen fisherman was found. Since that heartbreaking day, his wife and six children have been trying to come to terms with what happened.
"The advice I would give to people in a similar situation is if you are worried about someone you love being depressed, keep pursuing it for them to get help," added Lisa.
"People don't realise how serious an illness such as depression can be. In the meantime, my family are trying to focus on the good times we had with Chris.
"He was totally unselfish and would always go out of his way to help people.
"And he was a loving husband and a wonderful father to our children."
Chris, of Lon Caron, Sketty, is survived by wife Lisa and his children Adam, Zowie, Catherine, Rhiannon, Joseph and Christopher.
His funeral will be held at Swansea Crematorium today at 3pm and men attending are asked to wear Swansea City football shirts.