My dad killed himself after he was told to go home and ‘try Sudoku by the NHS’ | The Sun

A GRANDAD who was struggling with anxiety and depression was told to play Sudoku to alleviate his symptoms, an inquest has heard.

Trying to seek help for his mental health, Alan Hunter was advised to play the game as there was no one available to assist him, his heartbroken daughter has claimed.

The 72-year-old took his own life in October 2020 and had previously been referred for treatment, before becoming an in-patient at Northgate Hospital in Great Yarmouth and Hellesdon Hospital in Norwich.

His daughter, Claire Parker, this week told a hearing in Norwich that their family had become 'frustrated' at Alan's treatment plan.

Ms Parker said that there had been no psychiatrists available for people of her father's age, which is when they prompted him to try the popular brain teaser, the Daily Mail reported.

"They offered no solutions and everything just felt hopeless. He was offered no advice or support and nothing was investigated.

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"One thing that has really stuck with me is that during one particular moment of depression it was suggested that he try Sudoku."

In 2012, Alan suffered loss after his wife died of Parkinson's disease.

But daughter Ms Parker said his mental health didn't deteriorate until he was put on anti-depressants years later in 2019.

The inquest heard that the dad-of-two made two suicide attempts before he was found dead in October 2020.

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On being referred for help, Ms Parker said she felt as though she was the one who was having to manage her father's mental health crisis.

The former manager of the mental health unit that dealt with Alan said he had a consultation with a doctor who specialised in the needs of those over 70, the inquest heard.

Sue Jones told how the family had 'expressed concern', and asked for a second opinion.

However, they advised that there was no one else who had this particular skill set.

The inquest also heard from senior mental health nurse Kathryn Wyer.

Ms Wyer said that Ms Parker revealed she had been struggling to care for her dad, along with her sister.

She added that she believed Alan had been safe with his daughter and that there was 'no immediate risk'.

Due to the inquest being ongoing, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust were unable to comment.


EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.

It doesn't discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.

It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.

And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.

Yet it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.

That is why The Sun launched the You're Not Alone campaign.

The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.

Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You're Not Alone.

If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:

  • CALM,, 0800 585 858
  • Heads Together,
  • Mind,, 0300 123 3393
  • Papyrus,, 0800 068 41 41
  • Samaritans,, 116 123
  • Movember

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