The heartbroken mum of an aspiring doctor who was found dead last week hopes to form a support group in his memory.
David MacLeod went missing on Friday June 19 and his body was found in woods along the River Don in Aberdeen last week.
The 18-year-old student’s mum, Alex MacLeod, believes he was “in a really dark place” at the time and his friends fear that being unable to return home to the Highlands during lockdown may have affected his mood.
Ms MacLeod is now encouraging others struggling with their mental health to speak out.
She said: “I would love to set up some sort of group in his name.
“He was studying to be a doctor and wanted to help people, and I’d like to think he can still help people through this.”
The medical student had left his flat to go for a walk, and his concerned friends raised the alarm when he never came home.
Following an extensive search involving police dogs, divers and a police helicopter, his body was discovered in a wooded area near Grandholm Drive on Wednesday.
Ms MacLeod said she was “heartbroken” at the news yet “humbled” at
the support she has received.
She said: “The people who have been out searching, praying for us and sharing their words has meant so much.
“Two young police officers came to my door last week to tell me the news and even they ended up crying. One said, ‘life’s not fair’.
“David must have been in a really dark place and hadn’t reached out to anyone. I would encourage anyone struggling to please, speak to someone.”
She added: “David was such a thoughtful, gentle and caring boy. God is getting me through this and helping me be strong, and I just want to thank everyone for their help.
“I hope his young friends are getting the support they deserve.
“I used to work for the Samaritans, and I know how reliant they are on donations.”
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Mr MacLeod had moved from Ardersier, near Inverness, to Aberdeen to study medicine, and had a close group of friends who said it was “out of character” when he disappeared.
University chiefs have said they are “shocked and saddened” after David’s death.
A statement from Aberdeen University said: “We are deeply shocked and saddened to hear of the tragic death of one of our students, David MacLeod.
“Our thoughts are with David’s family and friends at this sad time.
“We urge anyone within the University community who has been affected to reach out to our support services.”
We are deeply shocked and saddened to hear of the tragic death of one of our students, David MacLeod. Our thoughts are with David’s family and friends at this sad time. We urge anyone within the University community who has been affected to reach out to our support services. pic.twitter.com/o39ARbrpy5
— University of Aberdeen (@aberdeenuni) June 29, 2020
Highlands and Islands Labour MSP David Stewart said the community in the village had rallied round to support the teenager’s family.
Mr Stewart said: “I am so saddened to hear of the tragic death of Ardersier teenager David MacLeod.
“I know he touched the lives of so many in the community and in Aberdeen where he was studying to go to medical school.”