Jacqui lost her brother David to suicide in 2010. Here she tells us about her experience.
My brother David had suffered since he was 21. He’d had a number of attempted suicides before he took his own life.
We had lost touch and hadn’t spoken in about a year, but in 1999 my son was born and I wanted my brother to know he was an uncle. From that moment on my brother and I forged a great relationship. He just doted on my son, he was the best uncle ever. He never missed a birthday or Christmas. He was living in Aberdeen and he did well there, doing a lot of voluntary work: it was a good period in his life.
Around the time that I had my daughter, David’s engagement was broken off and a relative who’d lived near him moved away. He got very isolated and eventually decided to move to Edinburgh. He got a flat and we helped him to get it decorated, and he did really well. Things seemed to be OK.
2010 was the first year that we didn’t see my brother for my children’s birthdays. I don’t know what the problem was, though I know he had a new girlfriend around that time. The family went through to see David in August during the Edinburgh Festival. We had a nice enough time but I just felt he wanted to speak to us but he couldn’t. The next thing we knew, I was away for a hen weekend and I got a call to say that no-one could get hold of David. I phoned all his numbers but couldn’t get him. I told my husband he would need to go to Edinburgh and see him – I had a feeling.
It was my husband who found him. We don’t have a note so we don’t know why he did it.
Every time David tried to kill himself, we couldn’t get over the fact that there was no-one there to help him. We need a fast-track self-referral, or a referral that friends and family can make, for people who are feeling like David did. In the twenty-odd years that my brother was ill, support for suicidal people didn’t get any better.
At David’s funeral we held a collection for SAMH. I’ve run the Edinburgh Marathon Relay to raise funds for SAMH and my friend Karen is running the New York Marathon to raise funds. I think that raising funds is really important, and I’m planning to continue in the run-up to my 40th birthday party.
There are people out there who have thoughts of suicide crossing their mind frequently, many times a day. But if they have the courage to speak out, it might save them.
I think the SAMH campaign can only make things better. There is still huge stigma: people don’t know what to say to me about David’s death. People still don’t understand.
Two people die by suicide in Scotland every day. SAMH believe this is Two Too Many. To donate £3 text TALK to 70040 or visit the SAMH website to make a donation online.
For information, guidance, and support resources as well as more details of the campaign visit the SAMH website.