The dad of a young man who took his own life has spoken of his grief at the loss of his son.
Described as “pleasant” and a “joker”, Chris Owen was found hanged in Pugneys Country Park in Wakefield on May 10.
The 32-year-old, who was from the Colne Valley but was living in Emley with his fiance Charlotte Naven at the time of his death, had three stepchildren and a two-year-old son.
Chris, a former Colne Valley High School pupil who spraypainted and powder coated metal signs for a living, had quit his job in April.
On May 9, he texted his dad Gary Owen, his mum Rosie Taylor and his younger brother Gareth Owen to tell them he loved them.
Gary, 58, said: “His brother was working with me at the time. I looked at the text and I didn’t think anything of it because I was busy working.
“Then we thought, ‘hold on, this isn’t right.’
“He always used to tell us he loved us but it just seemed a bit strange getting this short text.”
Chris’ mum became concerned too and his family went to look for him in his favourite places, but they could not find him.
The next day, a couple found his body while walking their dog in Pugneys Country Park, where he used to go with his family when he was younger.
“It was a devastation. It’s still very raw,” Gary said.
“We didn’t expect it - that’s the problem. He should have talked more.
“He had quit his job, but there were definitely no money worries.
“I think he had some form of depression or anxiety. We just didn’t read the signs.
“He sort of didn’t think he was good enough in his own mind, but he was an absolutely 100% guy.”
Now, Gary, Gareth and other members of their family, along with Chris’ friends, are doing a 15 mile walk around the Colne Valley to raise awareness of suicide. Anyone can join in at any point on the route.
It is on September 10 and will coincide with World Suicide Prevention Day.
The walk, which will end at the Watershed in Slaithwaite, will raise money for mental health charity Mind and male suicide prevention group Andys Man Club.
Male suicide is the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK. In 2015, 75% of all UK suicides were male.
When asked what advice he would give to other men in the same state of mind as Chris, Gary said: “Just seek help. There are plenty of people prepared to help.
“It’s all about talking. Men don’t talk. Don’t text because texting is rubbish.
“I found myself texting Chris back after he told me he had packed his job in, but weshould have talked.
“All he had to do was tell me he needed me and I would have been there in a shot.”
If you’re struggling to cope with mental health issues here are some of the ways you can access help.
Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.
PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
Depression Alliance is a charity for people with depression. It doesn’t have a helpline, but offers a wide range of useful resources and links to other relevant information.
Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts.
Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying.
The Sanctuary (0300 003 7029) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year, for people who are struggling to cope - experiencing depression, anxiety, panic attacks or are in crisis.