A young man killed himself hours after posting a picture on his Facebook page of the pills he planned to take.

Dave Nicholson, 20, who battled depression and survived a previous overdose, announced his intention in a message at 4am on an account his family knew nothing about.

His heartbroken mother Sharon Henderson said it took almost a week to persuade Facebook to remove the upsetting message.

She has now spoken about the tragedy in the hope that other young men affected by depression will get help.

After a hearing in Carlisle, assistant coroner Robert Chapman ruled that the Facebook posting showed clearly that Mr Nicholson, of Castlerigg Drive, Morton, intended to take his own life.

Mrs Henderson said: “Dave had so much to live for: he should have been counting the days to his 21st birthday, two weeks today.”

The inquest heard that 18 months before his death he was diagnosed with a recurring depressive illness, with frequent periods of low mood and suicidal thoughts dating back to when he was 13.

Mental health experts again assessed David last year after an overdose.

Judged a low risk of suicide, he was warned about the potentially harmful mental health effects of using cannabis and advised to reduce his use of computer games focusing on death and violence.

The inquest heard Mr Nicholson – also known by the surname Stubbs – had positive family support. His sister Becca Stubbs, 18, spoke of her last hours with him. On October 29, she said, she spent time with him at their home in Castlerigg Drive, Morton, and he was in good spirits.

Mr Nicholson’s grandmother Margaret Stubbs, who also lived at the address, was the last person to see him alive. She had heard banging in the night.

“At 4.10am,” she said, “I went to look at him and found him outside, rolling a cigarette. I asked him what he was doing and he said: ‘Sorry nan.”

She urged him to go back to bed. She again checked on him at 5.10am, finding him folding a T-shirt in his room. Again, she suggested he get to bed. Mr Nicholson’s body was found at 8.30am by his sister.

Tests showed he had overdosed on pain killers. Mrs Henderson found out about her son’s Facebook account – open to 30 friends – and the message after his death. It dwelled on his upset at the break-up of a relationship.

She said: “If only somebody had messaged us, but it was in the middle of the night. He was keeping a lot of stuff to himself. We knew he was suffering depression from May, and he tried to hide the fact that he was self-harming.

"It was a hard subject to bring up with him. He was really good at covering what he was going through.”

After the hearing, Mrs Henderson asked Facebook to remove her son’s last message because it was so upsetting.

“They said the picture wasn’t offensive,” she said. “It was up for a week before they took it down.”

She described her son as a lovely person, with a “wicked sense of humour”.

Becca said he was her “best friend”. Both Mrs Henderson and Becca were shocked to learn how vulnerable young men are to suicide.

Mrs Henderson said: “It was disturbing to find out that more than 70 per cent of suicides are among males aged 18 to 45.”

Facebook say they are investigating what happened with Mr Nicholson’s account and his family’s complaints.

Becca added: “If you feel depressed you should talk to somebody and get help. Men think it’s weak to feel like that. But it isn’t. They should talk to somebody.”

For help and advice:
Calm (the Campaign Against Living Miserably, which aims to reduce male suicides) on 0800 58 58 58 or visit www.thecalmzone.net  

The Samaritans on 116 123 

Sane on 0300 304 7000