ON THE outside, Dunfermline man Calum Reid was the life and soul of the party who was loved by everyone he came into contact with.

On the inside, he was suffering after spiralling into debt.

A struggle which resulted in him taking his own life on the same day that his much-loved Vauxhall Corsa was repossessed because of his money problems.

Just months previously, the apprentice dockyard fabricator had lost a friend through suicide. Something which prompted his mum Laura to comfort him and tell him there was always a way out.

She explained: "I sat with him and said nothing is ever that bad. Whatever problem there is, we can fix it, we can work something out. You know you can talk to me, your dad, your sister, your friends are there for you, don't ever get into that mindset where you feel you have nobody to talk to."

Despite this conversation, Calum did not speak out and took his own life on August 14, 2017, at the age of 21.

Laura said they were heartbroken with grief and desperately hopes that by sharing their story she can stop other families from going through the devastation which they have had to endure.

Calum and his mum and dad had been due to attend an appointment at the Citizens Advice Bureau the week after his death in an effort to help him recover financially but this proved too late.

"He had taken out a lot of payday loans and was gambling online; it was just pressing a button, it is not real money," she said. "These services are too accessible – companies are happy to give young people all this money at high interest rates but it’s near impossible to get a mortgage. To me there should be some kind of legislation banning these loans with an APR of 2,000 per cent.

"Car finance gave him a brand-new car because on paper he could afford it but they don’t take into account insurance, petrol, rent and living money.

"I actually thought I was going to be sick the day he drew up in the car. His dad and I would have tried to work something out to buy him a runabout to get him to work and back but there is this image they have to keep up with – so and so has a new car so therefore I have to get one – but at what cost?

"It was the day they repossessed the car – which we knew was going to happen – he took his own life, although I do not blame the car company. With Calum it was a familiar downward spiral; you take out a payday loan and the payment is due so you take out another to pay back the first.

“I didn't know anything about it as Calum didn’t tell me anything. He was very quiet and it was only when I saw a bank statement that I realised there was a problem. I’ve blamed myself many times over.

"None of his friends knew how he was feeling because he was the life and soul of the party. It was a mask when he went out.

"The boys have all blamed themselves because they didn't notice anything. We will never get the answers we want because he didn’t leave a note."

Laura admits that the family were left reeling after Calum's death and have gone through every emotion possible.

"My daughter was stuck in the anger stage. Heather was angry with Calum because it was me that found him and she thought no parent should have to go through that. It was horrific. As a mum you want to protect those you have around you.

"There are days I have not wanted to get out of bed, stay under the covers and stop the world, but because of Heather, I have to function."

Laura received counselling months after her son's death which has helped with many things including coping strategies.

She is keen to help make changes which will help young people – particularly young men like Calum – to develop the skills they need to deal with mental health issues.

"They are so young that they don't have much life experience," she said. "Life sucks. Life throws all sorts of rubbish at you and you have to be able to deal with it, and at times recognise that you are not dealing with it very well, and some people just don’t realise that.

"It just makes me so sad. It ruined my life – I don't mean that to sound selfish. Every night I wait on him coming in with his McDonalds bag and the feeling of remembering that he won’t just never goes away.

"He was such a lovely lad. He was that canny with a wicked sense of humour, he just went out about his business not bothering anybody. Everyone who came into contact with him thought he was the best thing since sliced bread. He was just lovely.

"The funeral was at the Carnegie Conference Centre as we had to pick a big enough venue and it was standing room only. I don't remember much about it other than the amazing turnout.

"I don't think Calum appreciated that all these people loved him. Why would you go and do something like that, thinking you were a burden and that no-one cared about you, when you have all these people that turned out to pay tribute to you – that makes me really sad."

Having had time to reflect, Laura has looked back on the days before her son's death and, with the benefit of hindsight, believes her son had made his decision to end his life days before.

She explained: "Before it all happened, he would have stayed in his bed all day if he could. The week before he surprised me by cutting the grass voluntarily and helped with a couple of other things.

"With hindsight, it was almost like he knew what he was going to do and was making peace. Had I known what to look out for that I would have been more wary but instead I was surprised and thought it was a positive change.

"Training people to know what signs to look for is important."

Since his death, Laura has made Calum's room into a place where she – and family and friends – can come and sit and reflect.

The room is filled with photos, his guitars and memories – she has even kept his writing on the window where he wrote "Jiggies", (Johnson's) his favoured nightspot in Dunfermline – and provides her and others a space where they can remember him.

"I have said to his friends, the door is open to come in and sit in Calum's room or have a cup of tea," she added. "They know I am always there for them."