I’d taken the #talksuicide training but not imagined that I might need it in my own family. A family member had returned to university for her final year and was struggling with the pressure, particularly as she had had just had 12 months abroad as part of her course. She had split up with her boyfriend too. She came home for a couple of days and was a bit down so we did things together and I thought things were a bit better from her having a break from study. She said she wanted to visit the doctor and I gently asked if anything was wrong. She said she didn’t feel right at all and she wanted to get some counselling. I knew I had to ask her directly if she had thought about suicide and I fully expected her to say no, but she said that she had definitely thought about it recently. She said she felt so bad that she pushed all friends away who were trying to help and that just made it worse. It was such a shock to me. She had always looked so happy on her social media – loads of friends, really pretty and outgoing and doing well at Uni.
She said she had no idea how she was going to bring the subject up or how to start the conversation about how low she felt. I was devastated but from the training I knew to put my own feelings on hold and be calm. We talked a lot into the night and I researched somewhere local to her to get help as she had been waiting ages to get into university counselling. I checked in with her frequently after that to see that things were ok and was ready to support her if I saw the signs. I’ll never know if it was the turning point but things did improve when she moved into a more supportive student house with other friends.
This is two years ago and she is much happier now. It’s still a bit painful for me to think about but I’m so grateful that I knew to ask about suicide. I can’t endorse it more strongly that everyone needs to ask the awful, unthinkable question as sometimes there is no other way to start the conversation. It really does save lives.Hull mum who used the skills learnt on the #TalkSuicide training