Dad with postnatal depression kills himself after throwing a huge party for his friends
It took two weeks for Vicky to break the news of John's death to their son, who was only three-and-a-half years old at the time
A 41-year-old father, suffering from postnatal depression after the birth of his young son, took his own life just days after he threw a huge party for his friends.
Reports state that the father, John Clayton, killed himself when his son was just three years old. After Clayton's death, his former partner, Vicky Clayton, 38, has now revealed how he struggled with his mental health shortly after their son Hugo's birth, however, he often reassured his former wife that he was doing "fine," according to reports.
Clayton's son is now nearly five and only has pictures of his dad to remember him by.
Hugo's mother, however, has now decided to raise awareness about the condition, which a significant percentage of parents suffer from after the birth of their babies.
Vicky and John had reportedly separated shortly after Hugo's birth, the duo, however, continued to remain good friends and would talk to each other over the phone on most days.
Vicky reportedly said that John had never given anyone a cause to believe he would take his own life.
Vicky reportedly believed that John had begun hiding the issue, and maybe even denying to himself, as he threw a huge party a weekend before his death.
"It was devastating. I was obviously heartbroken. For almost a decade of my life John was my best friend and co-parent of my child. To lose someone like that I felt hurt and angry, but also desperately sad knowing there was nothing I could have done to help or stop it," Vicky said while talking to Devon Live.
"Although we had separated we were still in touch pretty much on a daily basis because of our young son. He had once said he felt suicidal but said he was not going to kill himself, and I never thought I would. He had so much to live for with his PhD and his family and friends. Although he was under financial pressure and was not always stable he seemed to be living a good life," she continued.
Vicky also said that John was a very bright, clever man, however, he had a very stressful job.
"The culmination of being a father was a very big thing for John. It’s often overlooked that men also suffer from post-natal depression. Everything is very much focused on mothers, as you would expect, but having lived my life the way I have over the last five years I wish there was a lot more pointers for men to access help," the mother said.
Reports state that Vicky first started getting concerned about John's mental health after the birth of their son. She said that she was suffering from post-natal depression and eventually realized that John was suffering from the condition too.
"It was a very difficult situation. Hugo was eight weeks old when we moved to Cardiff so that he could study animal geographies at Cardiff University. We left our entire support network behind and didn’t know anybody in Cardiff. John was very up and down and it was probably about nine months after our son’s birth that the cracks really started to show," Vicky said.
"John saw his doctor, was on the right medication and was seeing a counsellor. Luckily he accessed one through the university otherwise he would have been on a six-month waiting list for a NHS counsellor," she added.
Amid their own mental health battle, their marriage took a hit and Vicky moved back to Exeter.
Vicky, who is a holistic therapist, said: "John went on to have other relationships and had really good strong friendships at the university. Everyone knew him as the go to guy who would listen and help you and solve your problems."
"But they didn’t realise his own mental health was quite up and down. To me it was quite obvious when he was down as he would have insomnia attacks which would last for weeks. He would say, ‘I’m fine’, and he reassured me he would get the help he needed.
"I think he started to mask the issue and I don’t know if that was because the services he were receiving were not enough. His last doctor’s appointment was three weeks before his suicide and he said he was in great spirits and was presenting to the world that everything was okay."
"He even threw a huge party the weekend before he died. I will never know if that was goodbye party or if he was genuinely happy when he did it," John's ex-wife said.
John was reportedly found dead by a friend in November 2016 in Cardiff. It took two weeks for Vicky to break the news to their son, who was only three-and-a-half years old at the time.