An inquest into the tragic death of a teenager who took his own life has found that so-called ‘Suicide Tuesday’ syndrome is likely to have played a part in his decision to commit suicide.
Ben Stollery, 18, had been receiving treatment for a period of depression when his body was discovered by police near Manchester Canoe Club, Marple, in March this year.
A toxicology examination reported traces of MDMA – the active ingredient in ecstasy – in the teenager’s blood prompting a toxicologist to suggest he may have been suffering the effects of ‘Suicide Tuesday’ – a nickname for the trend of Saturday night drug users killing themselves when they fully come down from the high the following Tuesday.
The inquest heard that Ben, from New Mills in Derbyshire’s Peak District, was an “intelligent and articulate” young man who was a straight-A pupil. He excelled at rugby at Stockport Grammar School, played as a forward for Cheshire and for the joint Nottingham, Lancashire and Derbyshire team and was a team captain at Glossop rugby club.
However in the months leading up to his untimely death, he had been suffering from acute depression and suicidal thoughts in the belief he was not succeeding academically. He quit Stockport Grammar where he was studying A levels in science subjects and enrolled at Abbey College in Manchester.
In September 2014, Ben was referred to a mental health crisis team after saying he was having suicidal thoughts. He was prescribed the antidepressant Fluoxetine and was referred to other health professionals after he appeared to be responding well to the medication.
Dr Mary Jackson, a psychiatrist, said:
He was a very intelligent, insightful young man and was very self critical but also wanted to engage with mental health services and wanted help. He described himself as a perfectionist and was quite depressed in his thinking. One one occasion he did use some cannabis and noticed that he felt much worse and he took away from that, that the drugs really were harmful to his mental health.
Toxicologist, Julie Evans, said:
[The MDMA] was a very low level and it’s likely it is from either a few days before or that it was taken very close to the time of death and had not passed through. A downside [of MDMA] is that it can lead to depression, anxiety [and] tiredness. His state of mind might have been affected. It’s usually a couple of days after taking it when depression is seen.
Ben had previously reported feeling particularly low on the days following drug use leading coroner Joanne Kearsley to record a verdict of suicide stating:
On the weekend of March 6 to 9 he had been out on the Friday then at home the rest of the weekend. We know that within his blood at the time of his death was Ecstasy. On the balance of probabilities, I do believe his state of mind was influenced by MDMA and the comedown part of this drug.
In May, hundreds of people turned out for a tribute match at Glossop Rugby Club in memory of Ben. The match was held to raise awareness and money for mental health charity Young Minds.
Ben’s father Rob said:
It was a fantastic event and the turnout brilliant, we wanted it to be something positive, a memorial for Ben and a celebration of his life. He was a great lad, who had a great life. He was smart and funny, that is one of the major comments people have made that he made them laugh.