DESPITE the Government promising investment in mental health care as a major priority, it still remains a taboo subject.

That is the view of the parents of 27-year-old Richard Hobart, from Basildon, who took his own life in December.

He had attempted suicide back in 2011, and his family instantly noticed that the treatment of people with mental health problems was not up to scratch.

Describing his son’s initial assessment after being rushed to hospital, dad Steve Hobart said: “A lady walked in who was all dressed up to go out and she asked would he do it again. He said ‘no’ and that was it. That was his psychiatric assessment.”

Unhappy with the treatment he was receiving under the NHS, his family paid for private treatment at The Priory.

Within a week, Richard was on new medication and made rapid progress.

However, last year he suffered a back injury which left him in a lot of pain and unable to sleep.

He sank into a depression - but despite several trips to A&E and his GP, he was only given pain medication.

His family also claim that he was also given Diazepam - which shouldn’t be given to people suffering from depression.

He visited the GP four times before his death - but was only given pills for back pain and eventually took his own life.

Mum Debbie Hobbart said: “I know mediation can have its place, but they didn’t ask him any questions. All they did ask was that one question.”

The couple added that there is too much pressure on young people in today’s society.

They have spoken out just a week after an inquest into the death of Harriet Nicol, 16, from Billericay, heard she suffered with anxiety. Her mum Denise said school stress and bickering with friends contributed to her decision to take her own life - just two weeks after she had been diagnosed with depression.

Megan Dowsett, 18, from Wickford, died after being hit by a train in May. She was known to the mental health services.

Daniel Voysey, 34, died after falling from a multi-storey car park in Great Oaks, Basildon, in May last year. He suffered with depression.

His close friend Allan Headley, from Basildon, believes people need to talk more openly about mental health issues.

He said: “There is a taboo about talking about mental health and that needs to stop.

“Daniel was a really nice guy and he almost didn’t want to talk to us about it because he didn’t want to bring us down as well.

“He would start to open up but then change the subject.

“He was really popular and everyone thought a lot of him.”

Dr Arv Guniyangodage, chairman of Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group, said he is unable to comment on individual cases.

He added: “The care of everyone in our community, young people and adults, who are experiencing mental health problems is paramount and it is our priority that everyone is offered easy access to mental health services.”

Hugh Johnston, head of integrated commissioning (mental health, learning disability and dementia) for south east Essex said there is now an Essex-wide Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Service set up for children and adolescents.

He added: “This aims to give them the best possible support with more services available, including ‘suicide prevention’ support within schools. There have also been changes to access which have allowed children, young people, parents and schools to contact mental health services directly. “

A spokesman for Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust said comprehensive assessments were given to people.

He added: “Medication does form part of the treatment plan for many people but is not the main focus of our care. Our services have a wide ranging number of psychological services which are regularly utilised where the need is identified.”