Dad who took own life 10 days after son’s suicide ‘paid the ultimate sacrifice’

Dad Wayne Mitchell and his son Jack, who died 10 days apart

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A heartbroken family have bravely told of their anguish after a son and father took their own lives just 10 days apart.

Online tutor Jack Mitchell, from High Spen, Gateshead, was only 27 when he died by suicide after a long battle with anxiety and obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD).

His family found him in Chopwell Wood, near Gateshead, after he went out for a walk and never returned on January 20 last year.

Just 10 later, Jack's devastated dad Wayne, 62, "paid the ultimate sacrifice" in the aftermath of Jack's death and took his own life – a crushing blow which left the Mitchell family in pieces, ChronicleLive reports.

Hundreds of mourners attended a double funeral which was funded by kind-hearted friends and strangers who donated £8,000.

Wayne had also suffered with his mental health for about a decade, and his family says he went "downhill" after the passing of his youngest son.

Dad Wayne with his wife Julia and their grandchildren

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A year on, Jack's sister Victoria, 23, and brother Scott, 33, said: "It still just doesn't seem real. We were in pure shock. We just felt numb.

"Dad was a very funny man who loved telling rubbish jokes. He was well thought of and was very sociable.

"He was a family man and absolutely loved his grandchildren. He had such a close bond with Jack too.

"It was the ultimate sacrifice for a dad. He did not want Jack to go alone.

"We had a lot of support from the whole village. Jack's friends set up the fundraising page and it took a huge weight off our shoulders."

Losing their brother left them shell-shocked and struggling to come to terms with their tragic loss.

Victoria said: "It was dreadful. We were horrified. It came as such a shock to us all.

"Jack was a very intelligent lad. He was one in a million. He was the life and soul and was hugely popular. He was so kind and that was one of his main attributes.

"Jack loved travelling and visited many places across Europe and Asia and spent a year teaching in Thailand.

"Myself and Jack were very close. It naturally hit me hard when he died but to this day it still doesn't feel real."

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The father and son "were too good for this world", she added.

Wayne left behind his wife Julia, children Victoria and Scott, and grandchildren Joshua, Lydia, Izaac and Kendal.

Victoria said: "I think we will also struggle to get our heads around what happened.

"There's all the questions of why, ifs and buts. If we went out for the walk with Jack that day would it have stopped it from happening?

"We just have to take every day as it comes. Some days are better than others but there's nothing we can do that can change what has happened.

"We talk about them all the time."

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Victoria and Scott have bravely spoken of the family's anguish to raise awareness about mental health and call for additional funding for services to prevent further tragedies.

Victoria said: "Mental health is underfunded. At one point Jack had to wait 13 weeks before he could get a telephone appointment so it just shows the demand on the service.

"We want to raise awareness of mental health and have done a lot of fundraising. In July we had a birthday party for our brother Scott and we raised over £4,000 for Mind.

"The support from the community has been amazing and we're so thankful for them.

"We now have a memorial bench for Jack and Wayne at Chopwell Woods which is usually a meeting place for birthdays and anniversaries.

"One year on we still cannot understand their deaths and I don't think we ever will."

The Samaritans is available 24/7 if you need to talk. You can contact them for free by calling 116 123, email [email protected] or head to the website to find your nearest branch. You matter.