THE family of a ‘life and soul’ uncle want to share the last pictures taken of him before he took his own life to show how struggling people can hide their emotions.
The final photographs of Steffan Rees, 26, show him brimming with joy as he teaches his baby niece “if you’re happy and you know it”.
Steffan’s tragic suicide came as a complete shock to his family, and they want to share his story to help others.
Stefan’s sister Sian, from Cardigan, ويلز, أخبر WalesOnline her brother was the “life and soul of the party.”
“كان فقط 26, had a loving family, a beautiful girlfriend, and didn’t say anything about having any mental health issues.”
Together with widows Lisa and Ana, who also lost their partners to suicide, Sian has set up a support group and has taken part in an awareness campaign from charity CALM.
الأكثر قراءة في الأخبار
ال Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) wants to raise awareness that the ‘face of suicide’ is not what people expect.
While someone may seem happy on the outside, they can be struggling internally, and the charity has unveiled an exhibition on London’s Southbank called ‘The Last Photo’ to illustrate this.
New research from the campaign has found that 61% of Brits would struggle to tell if someone they knew felt suicidal.
This sad fact was displayed at the outdoor gallery, which shows 50 smiling photos taken in the final days of those who took their own lives.
The charity’s exhibition is also sharing the stories of shock and grief their family and friends experienced.
A photograph of Steffan forms part of the moving exhibition, alongside the pictures of Peter Hammett, from Swansea, and Lee, from Tenby, ويلز.
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Along with Sian, Peter’s wife Lisa and Lee’s wife Ana set up their support group – LISS – Living in Suicide Shadow – because they felt there was a lack of support for those bereaved through suicide.
Ana said: “We are a peer-to-peer support group that aims to break the ‘isolation’ that we often find ourselves in by organising face to face and virtual meet ups, walks, family activities with people that understand the pain of suicide.”
Latest figures show that 125 people tragically die by suicide every week in the UK, and this campaign wants to show that it can be difficult to spot if someone is struggling.
Just months after Ana’s husband took his own life, another CALM campaign 84, which represented the number of people who died by suicide every week in the UK in 2018, was launched.
Ana, whose children were nine and six when her husband died, قالت: “ال 84 project floored me.
“It had such a powerful message; I couldn’t believe 84 men took their lives every week… so many families, اصحاب, and communities heartbroken.
“Suddenly, my husband’s individual act was not so individual anymore.
“If the suicide average was constant, how can we blame such rates of suicide on one individual’s reckless decision?
“It felt much more like a social issue, and if it was the case, then we could do something about it.”
Speaking about the CALM campaign, Ana said: “I will never forget those beautiful smiles of those beautiful people… beautiful children, beautiful women, handsome men, different ages, different genders, different social classes, different ethnicities, proof that suicide can happen to anyone.
“And even though it was so comforting to see a life-size picture, I found it so hard to leave the exhibition; I wanted to bring him home with me, we miss Lee so much!”
The picture of Lee, من كان 41 when he died, was taken in Castell Henllys, Pembrokeshire, على “wonderful” day out with friends.
“There were Roman attacks, and Celtic victories, plenty of laughter and at one point Lee had all the kids shoeless crossing the stream in the cold April.
“Never in a million years would any of us believe that he would be gone less than a couple of months later.”
If we can all start one conversation with our friends and family about suicide, together we can smash the stigma that surrounds it.
Simon Gunning, CEO of CALM
Others involved in the campaign shared similar stories of their shock at losing their loved ones.
Mike Palmer, who lost his 17-year-old daughter Beth during lockdown, قالت: “We had no indication that she was struggling with her mental health, other than that she’d expressed a sadness and frustration about not being able to see friends or go to college due to lockdown.
“My belief is that greater education around mental health and suicide is needed.”
Amy Nelson, whose husband Paul took his own life when he was 39, كتب: ‘Paul was the picture perfect poster of someone you would never imagine taking their own life – happily married, a beautiful daughter, a perfect home, successful businesses, a holiday home, financial security.”
Simon Gunning, CEO of CALM, قالت: “People tend to think they already know what suicidal looks like – reclusiveness, بكاء, silence etc. – and if they don’t see these traits in someone they’re worried about, they hesitate to intervene.
“In reality, suicidal behaviour takes many forms. People struggling can put on a mask concealing their inner turmoil before taking their own lives. CALM’s aim is to highlight this fact and equip people to take collective action.”
Anna said those she has met through the support group have formed a special bond through their shared grief.
“We have been on a journey together the last couple of years and it seemed fitting that we should all be taking part in The Last Photo campaign and supporting each other,” قالت.
“The exhibition was held on the Southbank somewhere I’d previously visited with my family including Peter with such happy memories.
إنهم إلى حد ما خارج عن إرادتي ".
“My immediate reaction when I saw the life size photo of Peter was to cry.
“When Peter died I was determined to make a stand against the stigma associated with suicide and for his death not to be in vein I’m so proud we all took part in CALMs The Last Photo campaign.
“We hope all our stories make a difference and ultimately save lives.”
You’re Not Alone
انت لست وحدك 90 انت لست وحدك.
انت لست وحدك, انت لست وحدك – انت لست وحدك, انت لست وحدك.
انت لست وحدك 35, انت لست وحدك.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
انت لست وحدك, انت لست وحدك, الآن.
انت لست وحدك انت لست وحدك.
انت لست وحدك, انت لست وحدك, انت لست وحدك.
انت لست وحدك, and listen out for others… You’re Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
- CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
- Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
- Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
- Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
- Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
- Movember, www.uk.movember.com
- Anxiety UK www.anxietyuk.org.uk, 03444 775 774 Monday-Friday 9.30am-10pm, Saturday/Sunday 10am-8pm