World Suicide Prevention Day – 10 September
A Suffolk man whose wife took her own life after suffering with depressive episodes has urged society to play a bigger role in helping bereaved families and friends by being more willing to talk about suicide.
Chris Lodge lost his wife Ursula in May 2008. In the weeks and months afterwards, not only did he struggle to find the right support to help him begin the healing process, but also battled isolation as people avoided talking about her death.
“People just don’t know what to say when it comes to suicide,” said Chris, who was married to Ursula for nine years. “They will talk around it, use euphemisms or just not talk at all. That can be very difficult – when you have lost someone who is very dear to you, you don’t want that person to be suddenly removed from your life as if they didn’t exist.
“After somebody dies by suicide, often people only remember them for that last act and many can be so cruel – branding them cowardly or selfish. Nobody would ever use that language if somebody lost a loved one to cancer or old age. That is so sad – but part of the stigma that many people who have been bereaved by suicide have to endure.”
Chris is now urging the community to help break down the stigma which still exists around suicide by speaking about it more openly.
“Losing Ursula was a complete nightmare – I wouldn’t wish it on anyone,” added Chris, who lives near Stowmarket. “It was the first time I had lost somebody very close to me and nothing could prepare me for it or the way that it happened.
“But there is life – and hope – after suicide. I still have bad days, but they are incomparable to what it was like in the hours and days straight afterwards. During those times it’s important to remember that it does get better – one day you will wake up in the morning and it won’t be the first thought that crosses your mind.
“I still miss Ursula dearly and feel privileged to have shared those few years with her. She was an intelligent, beautiful person, both inside and out – sadly she did not see herself that way and struggled with low self-esteem, but was unwilling to seek medical help. Her friends always saw the outgoing side of her, but inside she struggled with life, and like many others who die by suicide, she hid it well.”
If you need someone to talk to, you can call The Samaritans on 116 123. For more information, visit the Samaritans' website here.
For further advice and to find out about the support that NSFT can offer, visit the Help in a crisis page here.
To find out more, visit our World Suicide Prevention Day page here.