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16 MAY 2018 • 4:45 PM
A scientist who killed himself was suffering from postnatal depression according to his former wife who has spoken out for the first time since his death.
Researcher John Clayton took his own life at the age of 41 whilst studying for a PhD at Cardiff University.
And now his former wife Vicky Clayton, 38, is trying to raise awareness claiming that he had struggled to get the help he needed when his mental health suffered following the birth of their first child.
Ms Clayton said she was suffering from postnatal depression when their son Hugo was born five years ago, but then realised her husband was too after they left their home in Exeter, Devon, to live in Cardiff.
She said: “The culmination of being a father was a very big thing for John. It’s often overlooked that men also suffer from postnatal depression.”
His former wife Vicky Clayton is trying to raise awareness for male postnatal depression CREDIT: WALES NEWS AGENCY
“Everything is very much focused on mothers, as you would expect, but having lived my life the way I have over the last five years I wish there was a lot more pointers for men to access help.
“It was a very difficult situation. Hugo was eight weeks old when we moved to Cardiff so that he could study animal geographies at Cardiff University.
“We left our entire support network behind and didn’t know anybody in Cardiff. John was very up and down and it was probably about nine months after our son’s birth that the cracks really started to show.”
At this time Mr Clayton, a former RAF officer, saw his doctor and was put on the right medication as well as seeing a counsellor.
When his marriage broke down Ms Clayton moved back to Exeter, but they remained good friends and usually spoke on a daily basis.
His former wife and son Hugo
His former wife said it was important that said it was important the guys look after guys CREDIT: WALES NEWS SERVICE
Mr Clayton was found dead by a friend in November 2016 in Cardiff.
The 38-year-old is now calling for more help to be provided that is specifically aimed at men so that no other family has to suffer a loss like theirs.
“Suicide is such an emotive subject and it’s particularly difficult for men to talk about their feelings which is why I think statistics are so incredibly high for male suicides,” she said.
“There’s an element of them not wanting to reach out for help or wanting to be a burden. They feel like it emasculates them by asking for help.
“It also needs to be much more of a community thing so that men can open up to friends, in workplaces and in social areas where men frequently go.”
She said it was important the guys look after guys, adding: “Life is difficult and stressful and we all live in our own little bubbles, but it’s about visibility and not being ashamed to say you have mental health problems.”