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WHEN Leah Valoroso ended her phone call to her brother on Christmas Day, she was looking forward to seeing him a few days later.

She had no idea that he was about to take his own life.

As far as Leah and her family knew, Jez, a 21-year-old law student at university in Sheffield, was spending Christmas with his girlfriend.

It was only after his death that they discovered that he had told her that he was spending Christmas with his family.

In fact, he was alone in his university halls, where he took his own life shortly after ending his conversation with his then 15-year-old sister.

That was almost ten years ago, and Leah, 24, still doesn’t understand why her much loved brother took his own life.

But the personal trainer from Southampton is trying to help prevent more young people from taking their own lives by raising funds for and awareness of Papyrus - a charity devoted to preventing young suicide.

Jez, the eldest of four, seemed to have it all.

Leah said: “He was very sporty, he was really good at pretty much everything he put his hand to.

“He was always very popular and had a lot of male and female friends, and had a long term girlfriend.”

Leah and her family had had no idea that Jez was unhappy, much less that he was thinking about taking his own life.

“None of us knew that he was depressed,” she says.

“It was very much a shock. Looking back on it, there’s nothing that any of us could really have done, because it was out of the blue and we still don’t know really why it happened.”

Alarm bells began ringing for Leah’s family when they didn’t hear from him after a text he sent Leah immediately following their phone conversation.

“It got to New Year’s Day and none of us had heard anything from him since Christmas Day. That was really weird because he used to text me every day.

“We contacted the university and they sent a warden round to his room and he was found there.

“I spoke to him at about 10pm on Christmas Day and the postmortem found that he died at around midnight. I’ve replayed our conversation in my head a lot, wondering if there was anything else I could have said.

“He was obviously battling his own demons that we didn’t know anything about. He hid it well.”

It is for this reason that Leah believes it is so important to raise awareness of Papyrus, so that people with suicidal feelings know that there is somewhere non judgemental that they can turn to for help and support.

“We think he didn’t feel he had anyone he felt he could talk to.

“If you’re young and you’re suffering, I think people can be embarrassed to admit it.

“I think people need to be aware of how common suicide is.

“It’s the biggest killer of young adults and I genuinely believe that’s because young adults are either afraid to admit that they’re suffering to family and friends or they just feel that there’s no help out there. It’s a case of being there for people and showing you care.”

Leah is doing a 24 hour ‘work-out-athon’, starting on Friday at Pure Gym in Winchester Road, Southampton. Visit her Just Giving page to make a donation.

For information about Papyrus, visit papyrus-uk.org or call 0800 064141.

Don't suffer alone - if you need to talk to someone, call Samaritans on 116 123, email jo@samaritans.org, or visit a Samaritans branch.