A MOTHER whose son took his own life aged 19 is encouraging other young men to speak out.

Former Prudhoe High School pupil Adam Johnson died on November 19, 2021 - just three weeks shy of his 20th birthday.

A pool tournament is now being held in his memory and is aimed at raising awareness of men's mental health.  

Adam's family said that too often, stigma and beliefs of a macho culture stop boys from seeking help.

"Ultimately to save their lives, you need to talk about it", said mum Sharron Cooke, of Prudhoe.

"And I think families should be able to have more of an input when there's a life clearly in danger."

Because Adam was over 18, his family only found out some details of his mental health after a coroner's report was released.

"Parents need to be able to have more say", Sharron added. "Even though their youngsters are over 18 - sometimes they're not capable of making the right decisions

"They don't tell their parents everything, their world could be crumbling and they won't say.

"If somebody had informed us, things could have been different. Things need to change."

Sharron and husband Phil said more discussion around the topic was needed. 

She said: "Education should start in schools from an early age to encourage them to talk and discuss their feelings and that it's okay to feel down or inadequate of whatever it is they may be feeling.

Phil added: "Things are going in the right direction but ultimately, people need to be more open, it's an illness."

Adam was a 'typical' teenage boy - who would sometimes even make his mum a cuppa - but he was also a loyal friend and enjoyed pool and football, his family said. He had just found out he had been offered a new job when he died.

The pool tournament and raffle, which has been supported by local businesses and people, will take place on May 1 at Prudhoe Snooker Club. All funds will go to Papyrus - a charity chosen by Adam's dad David Johnson -  which supports young people feeling suicidal and grieving families.

Adam had struggled with substance abuse but had been receiving support.