The coronavirus pandemic which claimed the lives of a huge number of people worldwide and affected the rest in one way or another, along with the lockdown and the strict measures imposed by the governments, has left many suffering from depression and other forms of mental struggles.
Unfortunately, the situation changed the lives of many young people, among which that of a teen named Matthew Mackell who took his own life on May 6, 2020. Matthew was worried for his future and for the results of his A-level exams and wrote in his diary that the lockdown only made things worse for him and increased his anxiety more and more with each passing day.
“He was worried about his results and he was scared he was going to be in a dead-end job and he didn’t know where to go with lockdown,” Matthew’s father Michael Bond told KentOnline. “He lost his job too because of the virus and it all had a knock-on effect.”
Before the tragedy took place, Matthew called the police at around 10:18 pm and told the dispatcher: “Can you send someone to pick me up, I’m about to kill myself.”
After calling his number back, Matthew picked up the phone twice. The first time, he said he was “okay,” and the second time, he hung up without saying anything. At the time the police managed to locate him through the signal of his phone, Matthew was already dead at the park, according to Mirror.
A few months after his passing, Matthew’s test results came in. He scored an A in his favorite subject, finance. His devastated father said: “It’s a bittersweet feeling because I’m proud and I congratulated him at his grave but I just wish he was here. I don’t know about any of his other subjects yet.”
Further investigation will reveal how the police handled Matthew’s emergency call.
As quoted by Mirror, his father said: “I just can’t believe it’s happened. He left a message on his mobile phone screensaver saying ‘Hi you’ve found me. Tell my family I love them and to be there for each other. I’m struggling through life.’ I knew he was a popular lad to be around, always making people laugh, but I’ve found out how strong he was. He didn’t have any problems in the world but in his mind he had too many – especially with the lockdown.”
Having gone through such a devastating loss in his life, Michael has advice for students who are waiting for their exam results. “My advice is go and sit with a teacher and talk to them because they are still there to help. Just because schools are closed doesn’t mean there’s no-one to talk to.” He hopes no other student would ever feel the way Matthew had.
Michael still sends text messages to Matthew’s phone number. On the day the teen’s results came in, Michael wrote: “Hi mate just got your results today You got an A. You did fantastic mate you should be well proud of yourself. I hope you’re getting my text messages in heaven. I’m so proud of you mate and I’m so proud to be your dad. Fly high darling my love forever dad.”
A memorial tree was planted at Dunorlan Park in Matthew’s memory. May he rest in peace.