I'm baking cakes for friends and family in exchange for donations to Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide. I'm also running Half Marathons wearing my SOBS T-shirt to help to raise awareness of the charity and the cause.
My sister Cherry and I lost our Dad Peter in May 2010. He was 56. I never expected to become 'aware' of suicide it in this way - but I did. His illness took us all by complete surprise and his absence has been hard for us to fill.
Suicide suddenly shocks normal people and normal families and sadly it's much more common than you think.
It is predominantly a male disorder. Of the 5,981 suicides in 2012 in the UK, 4,590 (76%) were men. The suicide rate for men is now three and a half times that of women.
We need to increase awareness and understanding of the suicide rate for men compared to women, to encourage it to be addressed more appropriately by professionals in public health.
There is a sad social stigma and uncomfortable silence that surrounds mental illness and suicide. This attitude and perception is actually part of the problem, particularly for men and it is an issue that I believe we should all be able to influence - by raising social awareness and increasing education relating to mental illness, depression and suicide. We just need to talk more and learn about this.
Since Dad died I have naturally become more aware of how commonly people associate the word 'selfish' with the word 'suicide'. I understand now, because I have experienced it first hand - that this association is so misguided, easy to make from the perspective of a well mind - just because people don't really know enough about the perspective of an ill mind.
It is tragic that people can die from this illness evoking feelings of blame over sympathy. Its vitally important that we raise awareness of mental wellbeing and of suicide and of the impact of this on normal families like mine.
I'm fundraising for SOBS to keep my Dad a part of my present, to try to help to make the future an improvement on the past and to continue to learn about suicide - so that I can find ways to demonstrate all that I have learned from Dad, before and after he died. This is the best legacy I can think of for a brilliant man that should still be here today.
This charity and cause means a lot to me. I want to give generously to them, in memory of my Dad and on behalf of my family.
Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity. So it’s the most efficient way to donate – saving time and cutting costs for the charity.
You can also donate by text, please amend the amount to reflect the value that you would like to donate.
Just Text PLCH63 £10 to 70070.
Thank-you - very much.
If you have been bereaved by suicide, support is available from Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide - www.uk-sobs.org.uk.