THE father of a ten-year-old boy found hanged at his home believes the ‘mind-altering’ drugs he was on led to him taking his own life.

An inquest heard that Dalton-in-Furness boy Harry Hucknall was tak-ing Ritalin and Fluoxetine to treat depression and attention deficit hyper-activity disorder (ADHD).

Darren Hucknall – a cousin of Simply Red frontman Mick Hucknall – told the hearing he believed the drugs had made his son withdrawn and ‘were a major contrib-ution to what happened.’ But while coroner Ian Smith acknowledged Flu- oxetine’s suicidal side effects, he said Harry’s doctor had acted approp-riately, and his care had gone far beyond what was expected.

Harry told his mum and siblings he loved them before locking his bedroom door and hang-ing himself from the bunk-bed he shared with his brother on Sept-ember 19, 2010. He was discovered by a neigh- bour who put ladders up to the window at the house, in Ullswater Close.

Harry’s mother, Jane White, told the inquest her son had suffered from mental health prob-lems since 2005, but had gone downhill after a bullying incident in 2009.

Child pyschologist Dr Sumitra Srivastava pres-cribed him drugs to treat his depression and ADHD, and Mrs White said she had noticed a marked improvement in her son.

His auntie, Sarah Brown, said Harry had been ‘a very sad little boy’, but had also noticed a huge improvement in him in the months before his death. “He was a diff-erent child. He had a smile and a cheeky little grin,” she said.

But his father said Harry had talked about killing himself just mon-ths earlier. “He had never mentioned killing him-self before going on those tablets,” said Mr Hucknall, of Newbarns Road, Barrow.

While the coroner rul-ed that nobody expected Harry’s tragic death, his unstable home life, and the fact he was bullied, meant he was clearly a troubled boy. The inquest heard how he had moved house 14 times and school four times. His mother had also separated from his father when he was three.

Recording a narrative verdict, at Barrow Town Hall, Mr Smith said Harry died from his own actions without under-standing their true cons-equences. While maint- aining Dr Srivastava had acted appropriately, he raised his own concerns about drugs prescribed to children.

“What a child with ADHD is prescribed by his doctor is mind- altering drugs of a pow-erful nature.

“I’m not saying that no children should be prescribed drugs, but the doctors must be extr-emely careful of what they are prescribing in a 10-year-old boy.”

Lucie Russell, of ment-al health charity Young Minds, said:“The tragic case of Harry Hucknall highlights the sad fact there are thousands of young children strugg- ling every day with int-ense feelings of distress, compounded by other issues, such as bullying at school. Drugs certainly have their place, but doctors must monitor their effects extremely closely.

“The chemical cosh has never been, and never should be, the only solution to psychological suffering.”