Penzance mother believes debts contributed to her student son's suicide
The heartbroken mother of a Westcountry student driven to suicide by spiralling debt, is campaigning to prevent future tragedies.
Toby Thorn, 23, from Penzance, West Cornwall, was tipped over the edge after falling into £8,000 worth of debt.
An inquest later ruled debt was a major contributory factor in his decision to take his own life.
Poignantly, he used the back of a letter from Barclays Bank, demanding the repayment of his £3,000 overdraft, to write down his final words in a suicide note.
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He wrote: "Thank you to all my friends. I appreciate all your support, Later ANON."
The remaining £5,000 was student debt.
Toby's mother Anne Thorn, 56, has since become a trustee for the charity Papyrus – the Prevention of Young Suicide.
Mrs Thorn, a customer relations officer, said the tricky jobs market was adding to pressure on youngsters.
In an interview with the Daily Mail she said: "Young people can't find jobs, so they can't see a way out of debt. It's unbearable to think that Toby didn't know how much he was loved."
Her son had been studying at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge. But he had dropped out of a degree course in computing during his third year.
He had been staying at a flat with friends when his body was found lying in a field in Ely, Cambridgeshire, in July last year.
Mrs Thorn said she was unaware of her son's worsening financial situation.
She said: "He said university just wasn't for him, so we looked at other options. I had no idea his debts were bothering him so much. I don't believe that's the only reason why he took his own life but it must have been a big contributing factor. People don't realise that suicide is so common in young people, especially young men.
"Men don't talk about their feelings – they keep it all bottled up which can lead to depression. Young people should be encouraged to reach out for help, but debts are making them feel backed into a corner."
Mrs Thorn said her son may well have had her in mind when he made his final decision.
She said: "I now know that Toby was in so much pain that he was not able to consider the impact his death would have on me when he took his own life, and if he was he thought he was doing me a favour."
Data released by Papyrus show that about 1,400 under-35s kill themselves in the UK every year, and 75% are men.
Mrs Thorn called on the Government to do more to save other families from losing loved ones to suicide.
She added: "It is a national scandal that the Government is not doing more.
"Although they have promised £1 million for research, there is no action and no implementation plan."