A GRANDFATHER took his own life after struggling in coronavirus lockdown.
"Happy-go-lucky" Dennis Ward, 83, was overcome with fears of catching the deadly bug – tragically found dead at his Kings Norton home on Saturday.
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Grandson James Parnaby revealed in a social media post his grandfather Dennis had been "struggling with being vulnerable and self isolating".
Writing on Facebook, he said his grandfather had never previously struggled with depression and was relatively healthy for his age – always the "life and soul" at family parties.
James added: "So, when I woke up to a call from my dad last night to say that your grandad has committed suicide, it came as a huge shock and has hit the family like a tonne of bricks and will be hard to understand for us all.
"But the reality of it all is that he was struggling with being vulnerable and self isolating. Fears of catching the virus and the world never being the same again finally took its toll."
Dennis grew up in Coventry but had lived much of his life in the Kings Heath area of south Birmingham.
He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Valerie Ward, as well as two children, three grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.
And James urged people to reach out to their loved ones during the pandemic as the death toll yesterday climbed to more than 26,000.
He wrote: "If you are reading this, I ask you all today, to just pick up the phone to your parents, grandparents, friends or anyone vulnerable to check up on them and ask if they are ok and are coping.
"I never got the chance to speak to him as I thought he would be OK and would see him on the other side.
"Nobody knew the hidden effects it was having on him."
YOU'RE NOT ALONE
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.
It doesn't discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You're Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You're Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
- CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
- Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
- Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
- Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
- Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
The family has since launched a fundraiser to farewell the grandfather.
Meanwhile, the number of coronavirus deaths in England rose to 19,746, NHS England confirmed yesterday.
The youngest patient was a 14-year-old with no underlying health conditions, while the oldest was 101.
It is the lowest daily rise in deaths recorded in England on a Wednesday throughout April.
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But Brits have been braced for only limited changes to the lockdown next week.
The PM will host No10’s daily 5pm press conference for the first time in a month, since he was struck down by the virus himself.
He will use it to warn that while infection rates are falling well, the government’s top scientists have warned him that easing up on the restrictions now is still very high risk.
- IF you are having suicidal thoughts, suffering from anxiety or depression or just want to talk, call The Samaritans on 116 123.
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