Ex-delivery driver’s family says he could not cope with retirement

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Police car at Forensic Sciences Centre. – File photo by Jeff K Mayers – Jeff Mayers

THE brother of Solomon Russell, 62, whose body was found in a drain on Jamaica Boulevard, Federation Park, say they believe he developed mental health issues because he was unable to cope with retirement.

Russell’s younger brother Neville Russell spoke with Newsday on April 8 outside the Forensic Science Centre in St James.

He said his older brother had a history of mental illness, which only developed after he retired. He said he believed a change in Solomon’s behaviour was linked to his retirement.

“Since he retired, he just start to act strange and different, and he ended up spending some time at St Ann’s (Psychiatric Hospital). I find it kind of strange that as soon as he retire all this start to happen.

“Some people, after they retire, they can’t stay home, and like it just tripped him off. One minute, he would be good watching the TV and listening to gospel, and the next minute, he change.”

He said Russell was put on medication and spent almost every day walking from his home in Cocorite to St James and environs.

“He does just come out and walk. He usually takes a daily walk and come back. He goes with water and thing in his bag.

“He used to go by the poorhouse (St James Medical Complex) and I used to see him sitting there sometimes.”

He said his brother had encountered difficulties while walking before, but he always came home.

“The other day, he fainted and got some bruises and a neighbour saw him by the (Queen’s Park) Savannah and brought him home. Every time he took a walk, he came back but this time we realise something was wrong.”

He said the family’s worst fears were confirmed when they reported Russell missing last Friday and police told them they had found a body matching his description. His body was found on April 4.

“We sent a picture of his ID card after and they said it was him.”

He said Russell was a hard-working, churchgoing man consumed by his job as a delivery driver for Ramco.

“He used to work every day. He would get up at five in the morning and come back home six o’clock every day for six days a week. Around Christmas time, he even working on Sundays too. He used to work, sleep and then go back to work. He just liked working.

“But ever since he retired… that was it. He retired and like he was restless. It probably affected his mind that he wasn’t working and wasn’t as active as before.”

He urged people to find a healthy work-life balance, saying it was important for one’s mental health.

“That can play with your mind and cause mental problems. You have to find that balance. Enjoy life a little bit.

“Some people can’t handle that.”