By Abbie Mitchell

When I was 14 my best friend and I were having lunch in the school canteen when we saw through the reception doors that the Police were there. We joked and said to each other, ‘What have you done now?!’. Little did we know that they were actually there for me and one of my older brothers. We were rushed into an ambulance van with little explanation and driven to a hospital. I was anxiously asking questions that weren’t being answered truthfully and felt confused and scared. From that day forward, for me and for my family, our lives were turned upside down.

My mum, my dear, beautiful, beloved mum, had taken her own life. At that tender age, I had absolutely no idea about what suicide or mental health was. Too young to understand, the years that followed dealt with the loss of my mother, not the terrifying aftermath of a suicide. Between the ages of 14-18 I spent a lot of time between therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists, but it was never explained to me what they did and what I should expect. I just felt branded, like I had become a child with problems, mental health problems, that were going to be with me for a long time.

Too young to understand, the years that followed dealt with the loss of my mother, not the terrifying aftermath of a suicide.

Age 19 was when rock bottom hit, and I ended up in hospital. I met the same doctor that let my mum out of a mental health unit the day before she ended her life. “She was determined to do it”, he said. This filled me with anger, frustration and deep sadness – I was in shock. My knowledge and understanding of suicide increased and in my early 20s the reality of my mum’s death hit me like a hurricane. Grief is complex enough as it is and to be bereaved by suicide is another experience altogether.

A few years later, the same friend who had sat next to me in the school canteen called me with the most horrific news that her brother had gone missing out of the blue. Not long after, it was revealed he died by suicide. 10 years apart we’d both endured the pain of a suicide bereavement of a close family member. The taboo around the death meant it was difficult to grieve openly.

Grief is complex enough as it is and to be bereaved by suicide is another experience altogether.

People weren’t educated about the topic and in both our experiences, people didn’t know what to say at times. So, we decided to set up Suicide Taboo and Life Without You. We created 10 YouTube vlogs which helped our own healing process and also educated others on aspects of mental health, grief and suicide.

We miss our loved ones every day. We want awareness and to encourage others to get help and support if they need it. There is hope. So please, if you are struggling, know that you don’t have to suffer in silence. You’re not alone. You are worthy, and difficult feelings pass. What we’d do to bring our loved ones back I cannot tell you.


If you're struggling and would like to talk to someone, you can contact Samaritans on 116 123