Former Sky reporter's call for help over son's recent suicide raised in Scottish Parliament

Former news reporter Mike McCarthy’s plea to bolster mental health services in the UK after his son took his own life four weeks ago has been raised by Scottish MSP Ruth Davidson.

Mr McCarthy’s son Ross, who he described as “my world” and “full of life” killed himself last month leaving behind his three-year-old son, Charlie and finacee, Charlotte.

Since his tragic death, the family have set up a fundraiser in his name to raise awareness and money for Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) – a leading movement against suicide.

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On March 23, the day the nation paused to remember those who had lost their lives to coronavirus, Mr McCarthy, from Sheffield, shared a message on Twitter saying: “If you’re reflecting on the victims of Covid today please remember those like my son Ross (31) who took his life during lockdown.”

The emotional plea was picked up by Ms Davidson who shared Mr McCarthy’s story in today’s session in Parliament.

Speaking to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and MSPs she said: “I was struck to read of a man who wanted his son remembered today too. Ross McCarthy was 31 when he took his own life during the restrictions. And his family are raising money for the CALM charity.

“Today of all days we remember that Covid, yes, has taken far too many lives, but it has also taken a huge toll on those who have not contracted the condition.”

The fundraiser for Ross has raised nearly £12,000 in just a few weeks and Mr McCarthy said since it launched, many others who have experienced a similar tragedy in lockdown have shared their stories and support.

Ross McCarthy, who took his own life during lockdown last month picture: Mike McCarthy
Ross McCarthy, who took his own life during lockdown last month picture: Mike McCarthy

Speaking about his son’s death he said: "Covid didn’t cause Ross to end his own life, the but the lockdowns certainly exacerbated his depression, like it will have done for many who have been struggling through this pandemic.

"It’s a tragedy and an outrage that so many people, particularly men of this age group, are taking their own lives.

"I am eternally grateful to the Scottish Parliament for raising Ross’s story today. It’s one thing getting direct support when someone’s in a crisis, but it’s another thing improving the long-term help for people who suffer with depression, and we need to get the politicians more onboard to make change happen.”

He added: “Ross to many of his friends and family was the life and soul of the party and just full of life.

Ross with his three-year-old son Charlie and partner Charlotte picture: supplied

"He was my world, our world, and nothing will ever be able to replace him.

"Suicide is the number one killer of men under 45 and it just makes you want to know why and what needs to be done to prevent this from happening. It’s a condition I call cancer of the brain.”

Mr McCarthy said he last saw Ross at Christmas time when the family were able to meet up as restrictions eased.

He said his son, who worked as an instrumentation engineer, left a note after taking his own life.

Ross (right) with his sister Laura and brother Tom picture: Mike McCarthy

In it, he urged his family to fight for better mental health provision after his decade long struggle trying to find the help he desperately needed.

To donate to the McCarthy’s fundraiser, visit here.

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