A “gentle giant” university student from Lancashire who passed away at his halls of residence had been “let down badly” by mental health services, his father claimed.
Joseph Marshall, 20, a computer student at Bangor University, was found dead in his bedroom at a property on Farrar Road by his friends after they were concerned that he not been seen for several days.
When security entered his room on November 21, 2020, Mr Marshall was lying on the floor and had already died.
An inquest into his death, held in Caernarfon, revealed that Joseph, from Ormskirk, died of cardiorespiratory failure due to ketamine toxicity.
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His dad, Philip Marshall, attended the inquest wearing Joseph's Bangor Uni Poker Society hoody, and spoke of how his son had loved being part of the church community and also enjoyed climbing and dancing.
The schoolteacher also mentioned how Joseph had been bullied at school which had “fed his insecurities.”
In his statement Mr Marshall spoke of how in January last year there were “alarm bells” ringing about Joseph's mental health and lockdown had a “massive impact", leading to him losing three stone at one stage.
The inquest heard how the youngster had a history of anxiety and also had a series of seizures and was hospitalised.
While he was in hospital his parents discovered drug-related paraphernalia which they removed.
The family then went on a walking holiday to the Yorkshire Dales but Mr Marshall said Joseph was keen to get back to university.
The “Mind Matters” service then called to begin therapy but then realised he was heading back to university and said that they couldn’t provide him with support as he had moved to Wales.
Mr Marshall said: “We were upset.
"For the second time, Joseph had been let down badly by mental health services.”
In a poem written for Joseph just after he died last November, Mr Marshall described the youngster as a man “with a smile that exuded infectious joy and love but who hid his own inner struggles.”
He told the coroner that Joseph was a "kind and caring man" and went on to say that he hoped the national debate about mental health would make a difference for young people.
Concluding that Joseph suffered a drug-related death, acting senior coroner for North West Wales, Katie Sutherland, acknowledged that the youngster was a user of drugs and suffering significantly with his mental health.
Following the tragedy, Joseph was described online as “such a lovely young man that every parent would be proud of. A real credit to his family. Thoughtful, kind and caring.”
His devastated family said he was “an adventurer who loved the outdoors - he was most at peace by the sea or in the mountains.
“He was the kindest and most compassionate gentle giant who always reached out to the hurting despite his own internal struggles.
“He had a gentle soul and a warm heart and we are so so proud of the young man he became and all his achievements.
"He did indeed achieve the highest goals in life- to care, to give, to share.”
The Samaritans is available 24/7 if you need to talk. You can contact them for free by calling 116 123, email [email protected] or head to the website to find your nearest branch. You matter.
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