SAD sufferer threw himself to his death — (The Rochedale Observer)

SSRI Ed note: Student, 17, prescribed antidepressant for seasonal affective disorder (SAD), drops out of school, reduces med, commits suicide in June. Depression blamed.

Original article no longer available

The Rochedale Observer

Bethan Dorsett

Jan 25, 2006

A MAN threw himself 150ft to his death because he suffered from Seasonal Affective Disorder, an inquest has heard.

Christopher Wood’s death followed a 17-year battle against SAD – a type of depression that usually affects sufferers in the winter.

The body of the former Bishop Henshaw RC High School pupil was found at the bottom of a cliff in a country park near Edinburgh, after he had left his jacket with a note to his family inside one of the pockets on a nearby bench.

After receiving a phone call from the distressed 30-year-old the previous night, his mother, Kathleen Wood, had been about to catch the train to Scotland, with the intention of taking him to his GP, when she was told of his death.

Mr Wood’s father, Colin, told the coroner: “We used to telephone him in January, but he did this in June when it couldn’t have been more light.

“We think he showed traits of an unbalanced mind because he had recently changed his medication.”

Mrs Wood also suggested her son had reduced his medication in the weeks leading up to his death.

He described his son as a ‘sweet and gentle soul’, who loved playing football, music and socializing with his friends.

But coroner Simon Nelson, reading from account given by Colin Wood, said: “He enjoyed reasonable health, as you would expect, but from the age of 13 suffered from seasonal affective disorder.”

It is thought to have been triggered by the death of two of his grandparents.

After leaving the family home in Rochdale Road, Slattocks, he gave up his university course because of the condition before moving to Edinburgh, where he worked for a telecommunications company.

Coroner Simon Nelson said he could not establish a link with the reduction or change in medication.

But he ruled Mr Wood had taken his own life while suffering from a depressive illness.

He said: “It was clear from the communication that Christopher wished to minimize the hurt he would inflict on his family.”

First published by the Rochdale Observer