Matthew Mackell called police on May 6, 2020, at 10:18 p.m., and asked the dispatcher, “Can you send someone to pick me up, I’m about to kill myself.” After the phone call disconnected, the dispatcher desperately tried to call Matthew back, but the boy would only pick up two of the calls. During the first call, he said that he was “okay,” but the second one, he would hang up without saying a word. When they managed to trace his call to a park, police arrived to find Matthew’s body after he had committed suicide, according to the Mirror. In the days leading up to the teen’s death, Matthew was said to have been incredibly stressed about the results from his A-level exams and deeply concerned about his future.
The boy attended Skinners’ Kent Academy located in Tunbridge Wells, UK. He had left a diary expressing how the lockdown was only serving to increase his anxiety about the test results.
“He was worried about his results and he was scared he was going to be in a dead-end job and he didn’t know where to go with lockdown,” Matthew’s father Michael Bond told KentOnline. “He lost his job too because of the virus and it all had a knock-on effect.”
A few months after Matthew passed away, the result came back from one of his exams. And Matthew, who is said to have had a love for math, scored an A in finance, which was the high school senior’s favorite subject.
“It’s a bittersweet feeling because I’m proud and I congratulated him at his grave but I just wish he was here,” the father said. “I don’t know about any of his other subjects yet.”
Following an investigation by the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC) into the cause of Matthew’s death, it was reported that they would reexamine how dispatchers and police personnel handled the teen’s emergence call just before he took his life in Dunorlan Park.
“I just can’t believe it’s happened,” father, Michael said, as quoted by Mirror. “He left a message on his mobile phone screensaver saying ‘Hi you’ve found me. Tell my family I love them and to be there for each other. I’m struggling through life.’ I knew he was a popular lad to be around, always making people laugh, but I’ve found out how strong he was. He didn’t have any problems in the world but in his mind he had too many – especially with the lockdown.”
A JustGiving campaign was started to help raise funds for Matthew’s funeral and to also have a memorial tree planted in his memory at Dunorlan Park.
The heartbroken dad just has one message for students out there struggling with waiting for test results or who might not be satisfied with their scores.
“My advice is go and sit with a teacher and talk to them because they are still there to help,” Michael said. “Just because schools are closed doesn’t mean there’s no-one to talk to.”
His father also shared that he still sends text messages to Matthew’s phone.
“I still send Matthew text messages almost every day this is today special one,” Michael wrote on Facebook.
And on the day his son’s final exam result was announced he sent him a message saying:
“Hi mate just got your results today You got an A. You did fantastic mate you should be well proud of yourself. I hope you’re getting my text messages in heaven. I’m so proud of you mate and I’m so proud to be your dad. Fly high darling my love forever dad.”
Our heart breaks for Matthew and his family. It’s easy to forget sometimes how much pressure teens can put on themselves. We hope that Michael and his family can find a small measure of peace from this news.