THE mother of a boy who took his own life has paid tribute to her son and said he “deserved better”.

Lauruell Clarke was found hanging at his home in Clayton Way, Hove, on October 11 last year.

An inquest into his death on Friday at Brighton Coroner’s Court heard the 14-year-old was referred for counselling after an assessment by the East Sussex Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in April last year, but the referral was never made to his school’s wellbeing service.

Peter Joyce, general manager at East Sussex CAMHS, told the court a risk assessment for Lauruell was “started but not signed off” and consequently Lauruell did not receive any counselling.

Speaking after the inquest, his mother Rita Abbate said she believed Lauruell’s mental health issues were “not taken seriously enough from the beginning”.

She said: “Lauruell was first referred to CAMHS back in 2013 as he was suffering with anxiety and a low mood.

“He had suicidal thoughts even then, which is why we were concerned, but after an initial assessment they thought he was not in need of any treatment.

“I believe they should have taken further steps.”

Ms Abbate said her son was openly gay and had been a victim of bullying.

He had taken an overdose in March last year and had been referred to CAMHS again through the mental health liaison team at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.

Lauruell, who went to Hove Park School, was seen on April 29 by the CAMHS duty team and was assessed as being low risk, with no diagnosis of a mental health condition.

Ms Abate said: “Lauruell was constantly mocked by others and there were two incidents which affected him.

“The overdose should not have been taken lightly by authorities.

“I just feel it was pure neglect. I don’t know how else to explain it. They knew he was not well.

“It seems like it always has to end up with something extreme happening before something is done.”

At the inquest, the court heard Lauruell’s father Raymond Clarke had called the CAMHS service the day before Lauruell died to ask why no counselling had been arranged, as his son was suffering from anxiety.

Senior Coroner Veronica Hamilton-Deeley described the missed referral as a “clear failing” on behalf of the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

Ms Abatte believes the system for treating children and young people for mental health issues needs to change.

She said: “It should be about prevention, rather than stepping in to help when it’s too late.

“I understand they have limited resources, but it’s no excuse.”

Ms Abatte said her son was creative and had a keen interest in the natural world.

She said: “Lauruell was interested in art and was very good at it, and he loved gardening and plants. He was a warm hearted, loving young man.

He always offered to help when people needed it and he strived for positive outcomes by having a unique outlook on life.

“Lauruell was a very good person and he deserved better.”

If you have been affected by this story, you can call the Samaritans for free on 116 123. The charity is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year.