There’s nothing quite as believable as the story you tell yourself, about yourself
There’s nothing quite as believable as the story you tell yourself, about yourself

Niamh Ennis

The weekend shopping fix: picnic essentials, soft bras and more
The weekend shopping fix: picnic essentials, soft bras and more

Holly O'Neill

Nail stickers are the key to nailing your nail art
Nail stickers are the key to nailing your nail art

Holly O'Neill

Embroidery artist Domino Whisker shares 5 of her favourite creatives to follow
Embroidery artist Domino Whisker shares 5 of her favourite creatives to follow

Megan Burns

Wallpaper inspiration for every room in the house
Wallpaper inspiration for every room in the house

Megan Burns

Why are Irish oysters so special? We visit Carlingford Lough to find out
Why are Irish oysters so special? We visit Carlingford Lough to find out

Amanda Kavanagh

‘I prioritised my career over my friends – and now I feel like it was all for nothing’
‘I prioritised my career over my friends – and now I feel like it was...

Rhona Mcauliffe

Image / Self / Real-life Stories

Suicide prevention: ‘My brother faced stigma, red tape, long waiting times, under-resourced hospitals. In the end it was too much’


by Amanda Cassidy
13th Sep 2020
blank

Amanda Cassidy speaks to Laura* who’s brother sadly took his own life three years ago.


“It was a sunny Sunday and a few of us had been out the night before so we slept late at a friend’s house but my mum called around 11 to see if we’d heard from Dave.

I’d seen him on the day before, Saturday morning at home in the kitchen. Nothing seemed wrong. He was laughing about some silly programme we always watched and seemed in good form. Now when I think back, I find it impossible to imagine he had planned everything — that he planned to die that day.

Unimaginable loss

But we will never know and that’s what is so hard in all of this. About 4pm that day (Sunday) we were all getting pretty worried about him. My mum and I called all his friends and nobody had heard from him.

He loved GAA and it had been a huge outlet for him over the years so we thought, hoped, perhaps he’d gone off with some of those guys who we didn’t have numbers for.

Despite all our appeals on social media, we heard nothing that day. It was heartwrenching to try to sleep that night knowing, well, knowing nothing really but actually feeling deep down that nothing would be the same again.

We found out later that my brother’s life had ended that Sunday. But it wasn’t until Monday night that he was found in a nearby park — the park we played in as children.

The guards arrived in and we all just howled. We knew. Dave had suffered from depression and had attempted suicide once before when he was younger.

Options

We naively thought he was doing ok — that the help he received had helped. But life was just too painful for him. We had begged him to stay alive for us but he couldn’t, he didn’t know how.”

World Suicide Prevention Day was on September 10th, a few days ago. It is traditionally an awareness day in order to provide worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides.

Now as we navigate the current pandemic, it is time to rethink mental health. Suicide is now recognised as a public health issue in almost every country in the world as rates increase gradually making this a major cause of death worldwide.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Psychiatrist Dr. Mais Jain explains: “Some individuals due to their inability to cope with the stress or lack of adequate support mechanisms, finally find suicide as an option. However, the word option itself indicates that there are choices,” he adds.

But Laura says that her brother didn’t see it that way — that he couldn’t see past his depression. “Dave got over 500 points in his Leaving Certificate. He wanted to be a pilot. He was so smart. He knew where to go for help but his mind was exhausted from fighting the monster of depression.”

She believes that there isn’t adequate support and would like to see dedicated mental health clinics widely available, even for walk-in appointments.

Uphill battle

“If you break your arm it is an emergency and you can go get it fixed. There are too many hurdles to jump when you have a mental health problem. We are fighting stigma, shame, red tape, long waiting times, under-resourced hospitals… If it was exhausting for us, I can’t imagine what it was like for my brother.”

Laura agreed to speak about her tragic loss to encourage others to open up about their mental health struggles. “I know it is a cliche to say ‘just talk to someone’ but I also think we should all know the correct way to help someone who does come to us to talk when they are feeling like this.

Because the words you say do make a difference. I wish I had time to say more of them to Dave.”

Image via Unsplash.com 

We changed names to protect Laura’s privacy.

Read more: Vicky Phelan has opened up about post-natal depression in new interview

Read more: Michelle Obama candidly opens up about her ‘low-grade depression’

Read more: “To be depressed after the birth of my son felt selfish. I felt ashamed about the burden I placed on my wife”

Also Read

blank
REAL-LIFE STORIES
‘To be depressed after the birth of my son felt selfish. I felt ashamed about the burden I placed on my wife’

Postnatal depression is a harrowing battle at a time when...

By Amanda Cassidy

first-time dad
PARENTHOOD
‘First-time fatherhood is like the flicking of a switch. Now you’re not. Now you are.’

I’m a dad, a bewildering term, and while nine months...

By Peter Crawley

covid commune sligo
REAL-LIFE STORIES
Coronavirus Commune: meet the families who found a way to thrive through the crisis

As a result of the pandemic, IMAGE contributing photographer Isabelle...

By Lizzie Gore-Grimes

blank
REAL-LIFE STORIES
The reality of grief: ‘One day he went to work and never came home’

Like many of us, Sinead Kieran from Meath had a...

By Amanda Cassidy

endometriosis
HEALTH & WELLNESS, REAL-LIFE STORIES
‘I had to leave Ireland to get my endometriosis treated’

For far too long, the concerns of women have fallen...

By IMAGE

Women, from their first to their last menstrual cycle, are affected by their infradian rhythm.
premium BUSINESS, HEALTH & WELLNESS
The infradian rhythm creates a 25% change in a woman’s brain chemistry – are you tracking yours?

Most of us think that being in that state of peak performance happens by accident, but what if we told you that by tracking your infradian rhythm, you could be in peak flow with “precision, predictability and reliability”?

By Leonie Corcoran

blank
PARENTHOOD
‘I was completely annihilated’: The toxic truth about ‘supportive’ online mummy groups

Bullying, shaming, demeaning… it’s not the children we should be...

By Amanda Cassidy