A mum has urged people battling mental illness to get help after her son took his own life as he struggled with anxiety.
Zak Henry had talked a friend out of suicide the weekend before he was found hanging in his home by his parents.
The 22-year-old, from the Stadium Estate in South Shields, had been undergoing counselling privately with the support of parents Janine and Paul after his call for help from his GP went unanswered, an inquest into his death heard.
Zak, a former Mortimer Community College student, had suffered from eczema which could be so severe he could not walk, and faced a skin cancer scare.
Janine and stepfather Paul have paid tribute to the “shining star” who was a “modern day Samaritan”.
They have urged people facing depression - especially young people who may find it hard to speak out - to seek treatment.
Zak put others first, their troubles, their heartache, their anxieties at the forefront of his own.Janine Henry
The family has also called on those they turn to for support to find their own help in the hope further tragedies can be prevented.
Janine said: “Just admit it. Go to someone you know and trust, whether it’s a friend or a parent, let them know. Don’t feel you’re a burden. There’s so much pressure now to be fantastic, to be a celebrity, it doesn’t matter, you are loved.
“And to parents, it’s difficult to know what to say, but you can find help.”
Janine has discovered If You Care Share, which offers support to people following suicide and the wellbeing of young. She says others can benefit from the help of such organisations and through doctors’ surgeries.
She added: “We are still being overwhelmed by the love shown for Zak by so many people, he’s made such a massive impact on so many lives. Zak put others first, their troubles, their heartache, their anxieties at the forefront of his own. “We hope that will comfort those people when they’re in that dark place again.
“He has gone for some peace, to try and quieten his tormented mind.”
Zak, known as Poodle because of his curly hair, had been to see a band with mates and had told his parents and a friend he had had a good night.
The couple made the tragic discovery the next day when they went to his home in Chester-le-Street after he failed to turn up to his job as a chef at the nearby Moorings pub.
More details about If You Care Share are available via https://www.ifucareshare.co.uk/.