Heartbroken mom claims her 14-year-old son committed suicide because he felt ‘isolated’ during lockdown
A heartbroken mother believes her son would still be alive had the school not been canceled because of Covid – as she claims he took his own life while feeling ‘isolated’ in the lockdown.
Tracey Tyler had hired an extra night shift in the coronavirus ward of her local hospital when she got home to find her son Sam, 14, dead in his bedroom on May 25.
The schoolboy had “laughed and joked” while playing online games with friends and planning outings with them – before telling them he would “be back in two seconds.”
However, Sam never came back and Tracey says she found out he was hanged when she got home from her shift.
Four months later, Tracey has found the strength to share Sam’s devastating story in the hope it can save the lives of other children.
Heartbroken mom Tracey Tyler (left) has spoken out after hanging 14-year-old son Sam (right) in his bedroom. Tracey believes Sam committed suicide because he felt isolated during the nationwide lockdown imposed to deal with the coronavirus earlier this year.
Tracey says she let Sam play computer games online with friends when she went to work in the local coronavirus department in Bedworth, Warwickshire, but he was dead when she returned.
The 40-year-old urges parents to ‘ask the tough questions’ because she believes ‘one five-minute talk’ can save their child’s life.
The mother of three said she hoped Boris wouldn’t call for another lockdown because “ kids are suffering ” and says she believes more people died in suicide in August than Covid.
Tracey, from Bedworth, Warwickshire, said, “Sam had it all. You would never think he would do this.
“It’s hard to know that my child has chosen to end his life without giving us any explanation. It is heavy. There was no note or anything. It’s like being on autopilot. My heart is broken.
‘If I had only asked him, I think he would have told me. I thought his moodiness amounted to a teenager. You don’t want to ask. It’s a taboo topic. Nobody wants to talk to their child about their own death.
Sam, pictured with brothers Nathan, 11, and Daniel, 9, was described as having a ‘heart of gold’
‘I just want people to realize even if your kid is happy and you’re like’ oh, they’re a little hormonal because they’re teenagers, ‘just ask.
An awkward five-minute conversation can save them. I wish I had done that to Sam. He felt isolated when we were pretty shut down, but when I went to work he was on his headset on the computer. He laughed and joked and made plans to go fishing after he shut down.
He and his friends wanted to book a Harry Shaw coach to go to the beach – that’s what they were talking about. He just said ‘I’ll be back in two seconds’ and never went back online.
‘I honestly believe it wouldn’t have happened if he had been in school, in a routine. The only thing that changed was that he was up all night playing games and slept all day – like all kids. ‘
The counselor had taken on extra work to help during the coronavirus pandemic and had no idea that her son was suffering.
He hadn’t shown a history of mental illness, and Tracey brushed off his moodiness like that of a typical teen.
Tracey says that Sam was always laughing and joking and that there were few signs that he was thinking of ending his life. 40-year-old urges parents to talk to their children and campaigns to raise mental health awareness in schools
But when she returned home from a night shift, her life changed within seconds when she discovered that Sam had passed away.
Tracey said, ‘I was working. I came home in the morning and the lights were all on in the house. I thought ‘that’s weird, why are the lights on?’ I made a cup of tea and then went upstairs.
‘I was like’ I’ll smother and turn off his lights’. I opened his bedroom door and his bed was empty. I thought ‘where did he go?’ Then I looked up. He was hanging there. ‘
Tracey claims that Sam ‘was always smiling and joking’. There were few signs that he was thinking of ending his life.
Tracey said, “Sam had a heart of gold. Everyone always says that about him. He was a really good kid and he wanted me to help. If you were a 14 year old boy you would want to be him. He liked sports. He had everything he wanted. That’s what’s so difficult. ‘
The mother of three believes the strict lockdown played a key role in Sam’s sense of isolation, saying children are “suffering.”
Tracey said, ‘As adults, we had a hard time dealing with when we went into lockdown and I think it’s hard for the kids to be out of routine.
‘I think [schools being closed] had a lot of what happened to Sam because he felt so isolated. I know a lot of the kids would still go out to meet, but he couldn’t. Since I also worked in a COVID department, I was so concerned that he would distribute something.
‘These children are suffering. I just hope we don’t go back to another lockdown. In August, more people died from suicide than from COVID. ‘
Tracey says she believes a difficult five-minute talk could have saved Sam’s life
Since Sam passed away, Tracey has now campaigned to improve mental health education in schools, but argues that open discussions should take place at home as well.
Tracey said, “You don’t want to think you’re putting that seed in their brains, but as the world is now, they experience so much more now than we did when we were young.
“I think kids don’t want to upset their parents by telling them they feel that way. If only the parents ask, that barrier breaks through. That five minute talk can save your child’s life.
“I let five people know this morning that thanks to that post, they spoke to their kids last night and didn’t realize how bad they were feeling. They had no idea that their children felt that way.
“If this helps a person, a parent, who has saved their child, it is worth it. I want to help these children. The curriculum needs to be adapted. We focus so much on physical education and mental well-being is part of that. Suicide rates are so high in this country. ‘
Flowers and tributes placed at Sam Tyler’s grave after his mother said he ended his life in May
Tracey is now sending her energy to her two other sons, Nathan, 11, who entered high school earlier this month, and Daniel, nine.
She added: ‘Sam’s friends have been so good to me. They message me every week – really. It’s so thoughtful of them. All the teachers sent me a message that he was lighting up the classroom. Everyone knew him. He’s the last person you’d ever think would do something like this. ‘
She added: “I wish Sam had died of an illness or an accident, or at least I would have been blamed for something.”
Ged Flynn, CEO of PAPYRUS, the mental health charity, said, “For many parents, suicide is the unspoken fear. Talking to your child about suicidal thoughts can be very difficult and very discouraging, but starting the conversation is the most important thing.
For practical, confidential help and advice in suicide prevention, contact 0800 068 4141, text 07860 039967 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.