Will Young says he has PTSD because of abusive teachers at boarding school

Will Young has detailed how he was left with PTSD after attending boarding school with abusive teachers.

The singer, 42, spoke candidly with The Guardian on Monday about his experience at prep school in the 80s, and admitted that some of things he saw and experienced were ‘appalling’.

Looking back, he claimed to the publication that some staff would throw children ‘against radiators’ and rip out the only phone they had to contact their parents or ChildLine, and would also leer at them whilst getting changed.

'It was appalling': Will Young said he has PTSD after attending boarding school as he detailed in an interview on Monday how abusive teachers would leer at boys and throw them at radiators

'It was appalling': Will Young said he has PTSD after attending boarding school as he detailed in an interview on Monday how abusive teachers would leer at boys and throw them at radiators

‘It was appalling’: Will Young said he has PTSD after attending boarding school as he detailed in an interview on Monday how abusive teachers would leer at boys and throw them at radiators

He reflected: ‘We weren’t allowed to wear pants under our football shorts, so my d**k used to fall out of my football shorts when I got tackled. Less washing. 

‘I saw kids being made to change on the football pitch because they had worn pants. Teachers looking at our penises in the shower, in the bath.’

‘It was appalling. That’s why I’ve got PTSD. There was such a sense of injustice from things that I experienced and witnessed. I think I escaped – not that it didn’t damage me.’ 

Candid: Will said of the prep school he attended, 'I saw kids being made to change on the football pitch because they had worn pants. Teachers looking at our penises in the shower'

Candid: Will said of the prep school he attended, 'I saw kids being made to change on the football pitch because they had worn pants. Teachers looking at our penises in the shower'

Candid: Will said of the prep school he attended, ‘I saw kids being made to change on the football pitch because they had worn pants. Teachers looking at our penises in the shower’

He also claimed that there were some things he couldn’t ‘talk about’ in the interview, but said there was a teacher that students knew not to get in a car with, and other staff who would get drunk and ‘roll around’ in the children’s dormitories.

Will added that in recent years he’s been thinking ‘a lot’ about his time in the prep school, because he wonders if there will be ‘justice’ for what he witnessed and also experienced. 

The former Pop Idol winner attended the school alongside his brother Rupert, who tragically took his own life in August last year aged 41, following years of battling with mental health and addiction. 

Elsewhere in his interview, Will admitted he wasn’t ready to speak about his loss just yet but said his mental health was otherwise ‘really ok’ during lockdown.  

In December, the Young family’s barrister said Rupert had managed to discharge himself from nearby St Thomas Hospital before taking his own life, and that the family had concerns over systemic failings in his care.

However, hospital bosses denied any failings and say Rupert absconded.

Will, who was thrust into the spotlight after winning Pop Idol in 2002, attended his brother’s inquest in December where he described himself as his brother’s carer before it ‘became too much’.

Speaking at the inquest, Will said: ‘I was a carer for him, but it became too much. He could not look after himself and I did not believe he could look after his own life.

‘I feel it is difficult for me. I am someone who is pretty in control over my emotional well-being. I am a functional adult. I have done a lot of work on myself.’

Loss: Elsewhere in his interview, Will admitted he wasn't ready to speak about losing his brother Rupert, who tragically took his own life in August last year (pictured with Will in 2009)

Loss: Elsewhere in his interview, Will admitted he wasn't ready to speak about losing his brother Rupert, who tragically took his own life in August last year (pictured with Will in 2009)

Loss: Elsewhere in his interview, Will admitted he wasn’t ready to speak about losing his brother Rupert, who tragically took his own life in August last year (pictured with Will in 2009) 

The Coroner heard Rupert had an ongoing problem with alcohol and painkiller addiction which improved when he was around animals, dogs and horses in particular.

A toxicologist report showed he had alcohol in his system at the time of his death.

For decades, Rupert battled with his mental health, including depression and PTSD, and made many suicide threats and attempts, the inquest heard.

Will said: ‘Rupert struggled with depression and anxiety, I would say for 20 years. Over that time, more times than I can think of, there have been suicide attempts or suicide ideation.

‘Most of the time if it was threatening to jump off my roof, threatening to jump off a bridge, having a noose around his neck, having a knife […] it would be a cry for help.

‘There were few times actually that he had gone full, full, full through with it.’

Around a week before the tragedy, Will reported his brother to the police as a trespasser and Rupert was removed from the house.

He had lived with Will on and off for three years and had no other support system or friends, it was said.

Candid: Will, who was thrust into the spotlight after winning Pop Idol in 2002, said he was his brother's carer before it 'became too much' in an inquest December (pictured in 2008)

Candid: Will, who was thrust into the spotlight after winning Pop Idol in 2002, said he was his brother's carer before it 'became too much' in an inquest December (pictured in 2008)

Candid: Will, who was thrust into the spotlight after winning Pop Idol in 2002, said he was his brother’s carer before it ‘became too much’ in an inquest December (pictured in 2008)

Will also asked hospital staff to cut communication ties with his brother during his recovery, and he told the inquest: ‘I could not live in my house if it had gone beyond my means and it was affecting my well-being.’

He added: ‘I was not then there. For my own protection, for my own well-being, emotional well-being, I stayed around the corner and rang the police. I reported him as a trespasser.’ 

In the three weeks leading up to his death, Rupert had been drinking up to 30 cans of beer per day, the inquest heard.

He had also broken up with his girlfriend, was removed from his brother’s house and did not have any friends to support him, it was said.

The inquest also heard that Rupert was sometimes well, would abstain from alcohol and would go for periods without feeling suicidal.

While other times, he was drinking perhaps 20 beers a day and was so incapable he could not even take himself to the toilet.

It was said he was in ‘that dark place’ in the three weeks leading up to his suicide, and GP reports confirmed he also suffered from major anxiety and PTSD.

He had told his GP of plans to practice mindfulness and volunteer with a dog sanctuary, it was said in evidence. 

If you have been affected by this story, you can call the Samaritans on 116 123 or visit www.samaritans.org. 

RIP: At the inquest, Will said: 'I was a carer for him, but it became too much. He could not look after himself and I did not believe he could look after his own life' (Rupert pictured in 2008)

RIP: At the inquest, Will said: 'I was a carer for him, but it became too much. He could not look after himself and I did not believe he could look after his own life' (Rupert pictured in 2008)

RIP: At the inquest, Will said: ‘I was a carer for him, but it became too much. He could not look after himself and I did not believe he could look after his own life’ (Rupert pictured in 2008)

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