Wellbeing & Mental Health Matters: losing a child to suicide

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In our spot on the site where we chat about mental health – and with a trigger warning – a conversation about suicide and loss.

Hello and welcome to Wellbeing and Mental Health Matters, our weekly spot on the site to discuss issues and challenges facing us. This week, John Paul Lusk shares a few words about the impact of suicide, accompanied by a film that he recorded in conversation with Lizzi, who lost her son at 17. With thanks to John Paul, Lizzi and Back Onside for highlighting the devastating impact of suicide. 

Whenever most of us hear the tragic news that someone they know has made the decision to take their own life, our first thought is often ‘Why?’ we search for clues in our conversations, our recent meetings and within their social media posts, because if we can understand why we can hopefully begin to process it. All too often the truth is, there were no clues, there is nothing we missed and nothing we could have done. That doesn’t make it easier, in fact it often becomes harder, without answers how do we begin to move on?

When it is your child who has taken their life then it can magnify the already powerful need to understand why they made that choice.

Lee Stuart took his own life in May 2019, he was just 17. His death, one of a growing number of young male suicides in the UK. Lee’s mum Lizzi has no answers, no clues and no way to ever know why Lee decided to end his life.

I was asked by the mental health charity Back Onside to record an interview with Lizzi, for her to discuss Lee’s story, the education that she believes is required for young people today and the help needed for families left behind when a loved one ends their life.

Her words are emotional but important to hear and I’m grateful to Jane and Simon for letting me share it here today.

This interview is an open and honest discussion of suicide and the impact that it can have on others, if you feel you or someone close to you needs any help or assistance you can contact Back Onside at the site above or any of these organisations below:

Samaritans — 116 123

Breathing Space — 0800 83 85 87

NHS 24 hour support — 101

Emergency Services — 999

Rethink Mental Illness

The CALM Zone – 0800 58 58 58

CRUSE Bereavement Care – 0800 808 1677

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