A GRANDFATHER from York took his own life using prescription drugs after begging for help with his mental health issues.

The family of Anthony Pratt say the 54-year-old was let down by the lack of mental health provision in the city, following the closure of Bootham Hospital, and they wanted to see more done to help others in the future.

Mr Pratt - who was formerly involved in the building trade, but had been unable to work for several years due to a back injury - had suffered mental health problems for some time, and his daughter Cheryl - who works in mental healthcare - said he was “at rock bottom”, but was still not receiving the help he needed.

His brother, Graham Anderson, said Mr Pratt had been prescribed painkillers and antidepressants, and had expressed his concerns about his own mental health problems to his GP on several occasions.

Mr Anderson said: “He mentioned to his doctor six weeks ago he felt suicidal and felt the easy way out was to hang himself. His doctor tried to get him help with mental health people, gave him a phone number to call.

"Looking at his phone records, he phoned them every day once or twice a day for up to an hour and a half at a time, trying to get them to take him in because he couldn’t cope on his own. This went on for a few weeks.

“The only answer I have is that they didn’t have the facilities or funding to help him in any way.

York Press: Bootham Park Hospital. Pic: Mike Tipping (12728735)

Bootham Park closed in October 2015

“He went back to his GP on Wednesday morning (December 7), and because he was suicidal, that came up. He seemed fine to me on Wednesday.”

Mr Anderson said his brother had been prescribed medication and took it all at once.

Mr Pratt’s daughter Cheryl, 27, was unable to reach him on the phone on Friday, December 9, and when she visited his New Earswick home found a note pinned to the front door. She phoned the emergency services, but her father was already dead.

She said: “I knew there was a problem but never knew how severe it was. He said voices were telling him to kill himself but he was seeing a doctor and asked for help and he was doing everything he could to try and get help.

“I’m supposed to be getting married, but how can I when he’s not going to be there to walk me down the aisle and give me away? My daughter is seven and knows he’s gone. We found her crying about it. My three-year-old can barely talk, but knows grandad’s dead.”

Miss Pratt - who works in a private mental health care home - said her father had begged to be sectioned, but the only options open to him were helplines provided by his doctor.

York Press:

She said: “I work in a mental health care home and I know the problems with the NHS.

“I want to see more mental health help and people saved. One of the numbers he phoned said they couldn’t help him until he picked himself up a bit. He was at rock bottom and phoned me crying after. This was a few days before he died. How are you meant to pick yourself up if you’re at the worst point in your life?”

Mr Anderson, 62, said: “He needed so much more than a phone call, more than someone to speak to. He knew he needed help, but there was nothing anyone could do.

“I think it’s disgusting that there’s nothing in the York area that can offer help to people with mental illness. It’s going to be too late for Tony now, isn’t it, but I have been told that 25 per cent of the York population have some form of mental illness and there’s no help whatsoever in this area. I want people to be aware of the fact that the NHS aren’t supporting people in this area who need help more than anything else.”

A spokeswoman for North Yorkshire Police said Mr Pratt’s death was “not being treated as suspicious”, and The Press understands a file has been prepared for the coroner.

A spokeswoman for the Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust - which runs some of the helpline numbers Mr Pratt phoned while seeking help - said: “Our thoughts are with Mr Pratt’s family at this very sad time and we will be in touch with them very soon.

"We always carry out a full investigation when someone who is under our care dies and this is now underway. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be appropriate to comment further before the inquest.”

A spokeswoman for the Haxby Group - which runs the GP surgery Mr Pratt was a patient at - said: “The practice has not been approached by the family or coroner relating to [Mr Pratt’s death].

“Haxby Group expresses its sympathies to the family and will of course respond to any questions or concerns if contacted.”