Family’s plea after tragedy of talented son

Brett Robertshaw

Brett Robertshaw

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The devastated family of an “ambitious and articulate” man who took his own life today made an emotional appeal for those experiencing mental health problems to seek help before it is too late.

Brett Robertshaw was found dead at his home in South Shore on July 5 this year, an inquest in Blackpool was told.

He was just 21-years-old and had a promising life ahead of him, his grieving family told The Gazette.

But the young man had battled mental health problems since he was a teen, even fearing he was schizophrenic in the months before his death.

In spring of this year he approached his doctor for help and was prescribed anti-depressants and referred for counselling some time later. But he never found strength to attend, the inquest was told.

A note left for his family detailed how he found he was “unable to cope” and he had “way more mental issues than ever let on”.

He wrote: “I felt trapped for years, tortured by my own mind.”

Just days after she had celebrated her birthday with Brett, his auntie, Kelly Dixon, 35, found his body in his room. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

His heartbroken mother Cheryl, 46, said: “It was absolutely devastating – terrible. We never thought for one second that it was at that stage.”

Then, one week after his death, an online blog was published on his popular website, on which he had built a fanbase teaching others tablature, stating he had intended to take his life and detailing the reasons why.

It read: “This is no-one’s fault, no-one is to blame except myself over my own lack of willpower, my inability to cope with things.

“Don’t be sad I’m gone, be happy I’m not suffering now.”

Since his death friends have raised close to £1,000 to donate to mental health charity MIND in his memory.

And his family today said they hope Brett’s story will encourage others to seek help for mental health problems and for others to look out for the signs and not be afraid to talk about the taboo topic.

Kelly added: “We’d like people prescribed anti-depressants to be kept an eye on, especially if doctors know their family and that there are other things going on. And for people not to be scared to talk about it. And we hope that in the future there won’t be the same stigma attached to mental health problems.”

Assistant coroner for Blackpool and Fylde, Claire Doherty, said: “Looking at the blog and note it is clear there there’s an element of planning, clearly he’d been grappling with a lot of problems for a long time. The blog is very articulately written, one can’t help but acknowledge the family’s loss. He was a very intelligent and articulate person and very insightful.

“I feel obliged to report Brett took his own life. It’s clear from the note and blog he wanted to do this, and he expressed his love for his family and he said very clearly no-one was to blame.”

His close family was reassured by pathologist Dr Samir Shaktawart his death would have taken less than a minute and seen him slip into sleep before dying.

Brett had attended Thames Primary School before moving up to Palatine High School and later taking jobs in shops in town and spending his free time playing guitar and reading.

He was also a fan of all things Japanese and had been learning the language as he had planned to visit the country. Mrs Robertshaw added: “He loved reading and to learn new things. He built his own computer once and he was the most incredible guitarist.”

To donate to MIND, visit: www.justgiving.com and search ‘Remember Brett Robertshaw’