Welcome to Surviving Their Suicide, a podcast that launched in January 2018 to help those who have a lost a loved one this way.
You could be grieving the loss of a spouse, parent, child, family member, friend, work colleague…it doesn’t matter who. We’ll cover all kinds of loss here.
It could be recent, or a long time ago. When it happened isn’t important. What matters is that you want to listen to other people’s experiences of going through this. Perhaps you want to share your own too?
What are the aims of this podcast?
- To help people who have been bereaved by suicide feel less alone
- To reduce feelings of guilt and shame
- To signpost survivors to other resources
- To aid healing after going through something very traumatic
- To empower those whose needs are ignored by society
- To give people a chance to speak about they’re going through, or have been through in the past. For some this will be their first chance to talk.
- To create an infinite archive of our experiences
^ This last point is very important.
This podcast will help others like us because people can listen to it anywhere, anytime, anywhere in the world – but its potential goes beyond that. This podcast will be a powerful record of what we’ve been through.
It can help raise awareness of the issues we face, which will make other people better at talking and listening to us rather than leaving us to deal with grief on our own. It could even be a training aid for GPs and health care professionals so they are better at helping us.
What format will the podcast take?
A new episode of the podcast will be released whenever I have time. Hopefully once per month! Each episode will feature some news & discussion, a recommended resource to help you deal with your loss, and an interview with someone who has been bereaved by suicide.
In time as this project grows I hope to be able to include interviews with doctors, bereavement counselors etc. too so listeners can gain professional help & advice.
Do people bereaved by suicide need specialist resources?
Now I firmly believe that you can’t compare bereavements. No matter how someone has died you are going to suffer tremendous amounts of pain. But when you lose someone to suicide you face unique issues that don’t tend to occur with other bereavements. There’s anger, guilt, shame, rejection, sometimes the feeling of being punished if the suicide was done in anger to supposedly prove a point. Others may turn against the person and label them selfish. Perhaps there is fighting and blame as people point the finger in an attempt to find answers. Or there is hurtful and intrusive attention from the press.
But most importantly is the WHY. Most of us are left wondering this for the rest of our lives. Why did they do it? Why that method of death? Why that date and time? Why didn’t they say goodbye? We are left desperate for answers that we’ll never find out.
Many resources for bereavements are helpful – but they often don’t address these things. And survivors need a safe place to get help without being judged.
Guilt, shame, and stigma can often prevent us from getting support. Here’s an example from my childhood. In my year at school another girl’s mum died about 8 months before mine because of cancer. I felt too ashamed to speak up about my loss. How could I when my mum had killed herself and her’s would have desperately wanted to live? I felt like if that’s what my mum chose, then I should just keep my head down and ‘get on with it’. But ultimately we were both young adults who were struggling with loss and pain.
Specialist resources can help stop survivors of bereavement by suicide from self exclusion because people know they will be understood.
Why are you setting up this project now?
In 2004, when I was just 16 years old, I came home from school and found my mum hanging in the garage. She was only 44 years old and left many friends and family behind. There were so few resources back then and I really struggled to get help. I didn’t know anyone else who was going through it. Needless to say it was a very difficult time. Not having anywhere to get help coupled with the stigma and isolation surrounding suicide made life unbearable.
You can read more about My Story elsewhere on the site, but I’m now 32 years old and working in the charity sector. I’m keen to stress that I lead a happy and fulfilling life! But this is still an issue that is close to my heart.
16 years on I’m saddened by how little has changed for people who have been bereaved by suicide in the UK since my mum died. Suicide is still a leading cause of death in this country for some age groups, and in 2015 there were on average 13 suicides every day. Funding for mental health care continues to be slashed.
Whilst there are more resources out there now than when I lost my mum, there is still very little for people who have lost someone in this way. Together we can change that!