A CORONER has pleaded with young men to speak out over mental health – following the death of a 29-year-old father of three.

James Newman said substance abuse and mental health issues are the ‘greatest demons of our time’.

An inquest into the death of Stephen Garrard heard he had a complex history of mental health issues including anxiety and depression.

He also had a problem with alcohol, to the point he would consume between 10 and 20 cans of lager a day. He was found hanged in the flat he was sharing with his uncle, on July 11.

Mr Newman said: “Stephen was staying with his uncle, Stephen Brown, after separating from his partner a couple of months previously.

“On the night of July 10, Mr Brown had gone to sleep on the sofa but woke early on the morning of July 11 to find Stephen hanged."

A postmortem examination concluded that Mr Garrard had died of asphyxiation by hanging and toxicology results showed there to be alcohol present in his blood.

The inquest heard Mr Garrard had been to see his doctor and mental health practitioners on and off since 2014 but had not engaged with them.

He had also been referred to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in 2002.

His problems with alcohol had worsened following the death of his mother in November 2018, to the point where his relationship with his partner, Chantelle Hood, broke down and he had limited access to his children.

Miss Hood said in a statement: “I knew he had issues but didn’t expect this to be the outcome.”

Mr Newman said Mr Garrard would not follow up on offers of help, and a statement from his father, Philip Garrard, said he had spoken to his son the month prior to his death.

He had told his father he ‘couldn’t carry on like this’.

Recording a suicide conclusion Mr Newman said: “Stephen had a chaotic life driven by bereavement and it seems to me he never got over the death of his mother.

“Substance abuse and mental health issues are the greatest demons of our time and this catastrophic rise in young men dying, at their own hands, is a terrible waste.

“I plead for any young man, if they are considering steps like this, to take a moment to talk to anyone, whether that be friends or family or professionals."