My dad killed himself after being told to go home and ‘try NHS Sudoku’

A grandpa who was struggling with anxiety and depression was told to play Sudoku to ease his symptoms, research has found.

While trying to seek help for his mental health, Alan Hunter was advised to play the game as nobody was available to help him, his heartbroken daughter has claimed.

Alan Hunter has struggled with depression and anxiety, research has found


Alan Hunter has struggled with depression and anxiety, research has foundPhoto credit: ITV

The 72-year-old took his own life in October 2020 and had previously been referred for treatment before being admitted to Northgate Hospital in Great Yarmouth and Hellesdon Hospital in Norwich.

His daughter Claire Parker said at a hearing in Norwich this week that her family was “frustrated” with Alan’s treatment plan.

Ms Parker said that psychiatrists didn’t exist for people her father’s age, prompting him to create the popular brain teaser The Daily Mail reported.

“They didn’t offer any solutions and everything just felt hopeless. No advice or support was offered to him and nothing was investigated.

“One thing I really remembered is that at a certain moment of depression it was suggested that he try Sudoku.”

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

But daughter Ms Parker said his mental health didn’t deteriorate until years later in 2019 when he was placed on antidepressants.

The inquest found the father of two made two suicide attempts before he was found dead in October 2020.

When asked for help, Ms Parker said she felt she was the one who needed to manage her father’s mental health crisis.

The former manager of the psychiatric unit that looked after Alan said he had a consultation with a doctor who specializes in the needs of people over 70, according to the research.

Sue Jones recounted how the family “expressed concern” and asked for a second opinion.

However, they pointed out that there was no one else who had these special skills.

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

Ms Wyer said Ms Parker revealed that she, along with her sister, struggled to care for their father.

She added that she believed Alan was safe with his daughter and there was “no immediate risk”.

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


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

It does not discriminate and touches the lives of people in all sectors of society – from the homeless and unemployed to construction workers and doctors, to reality stars and footballers.

It is the leading cause of death for people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car accidents.

And men are three times more likely to commit suicide than women.

Yet it’s rarely talked about, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage if we don’t all stop now and take notice.

That’s why The Sun launched the You’re Not Alone campaign.

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

Let’s all pledge to ask for help when we need it and to listen to others… You are not alone.

If you or someone you know needs help coping with mental health issues, the following organizations offer support: My dad killed himself after being told to go home and ‘try NHS Sudoku’

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