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There is a future that is calling...

Making Sense of Suicide

I lost my son Jake to suicide in August 2015. I have created this website to share my experience of the desperate and devastating fight to save my son from suicide. I hope to capture the chaos, humour, creativity, piano playing, cameras, Kodak, vintage, vinyl, girlfriends, rabbits, festivals, Marlborough Lights, the warmth, the ‘much love’ and the totally irrational and sublime moments that will forever make me smile. I just don’t want to forget

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J.R.x

“What you lose will come back to you”

I am very proud of Jake for being so open and honest during his 10 months of crisis. Jake fought hard to live and he could not have been more open and honest about what was happening to him.

Jake’s story is both tragic yet heart warming. You might wonder how these two words could appear in the same sentence. I hope that what I share on this site will go some way towards making sense of this. How can you fight so hard for something and lose? I really don’t know… and perhaps never will.

There is no future – only the here & now

Jake would tell me this often and we disagreed about it’s meaning. During the time that he was unwell he seemed to think that this saying was a green light to end his life. He believed that he could not escape from the turmoil that he was experiencing.

It was as if he was seeking permission. My take on this was that the here & now determines your future and that we needed to do everything that we could to try to change his ‘here & now’.

I will never forget our conversations. Jake was rather stubborn and would always end our discussions with his trade mark knowing look, the point of a finger and “you mark my words”. He did make me smile (sometimes for the wrong reasons).

There is a light that never goes out

Jake’s Story

I lost my beautiful, warm, intelligent, quirky and creative son Jake to suicide on 23rd August 2015. Jake was my only child and like any 23 year old had masses of potential and his whole life ahead of him. Jake was studying Contemporary Photography and was passionate about a career in this field. He had amazing friends and girlfriends, was confident, articulate and much loved and adored by everyone who knew and met him.

Jake’s issues began about 10 months before he died. His behaviour changed drastically and to cut a long story short Jake more than likely had Bi-Polar and he was also self-medicating using Benzodiazepines purchased over the internet (very dangerous). Jake was very open and honest with both myself and medical professionals about how he was feeling and what he was doing. He was desperate for help and could not have shouted any louder. Jake was denied a mental health assessment due to his substance misuse and this is where things spiralled out of control. Between us we banged on doors, wrote letters, attended appointments and many times of crisis in A&E. He was in a no win situation and I weighed just under 7 stone before Jake died due to the stress and trauma of trying to get the help he needed and dealing with his challenging behaviour.

In the weeks after Jake’s death there was a Serious Incident Report carried out followed by an Inquest. The Coroner saw everything that I did and much more. The Coroner ordered a further investigation into a ‘missing letter’ and she also issued a Regulation 28 to Prevent Further Deaths. Jake’s case was published on the Chief Coroners Website which broke my heart. Basically you can google his suicide.

What keeps me going? My husband, family and the amazing support from everyone that I know, Jake’s friends and their parents and more than anything the relationship that I had with Jake, the love and the memories that we shared.

In a strange way I feel privileged to have gone on that journey with Jake. I could compare it to caring for someone with a physical illness who is on end of life care (I don’t expect everyone to understand or appreciate this). Suicidal thoughts are real, apparently you can go through stages that last about 90 days. When I read about this Jake’s behaviour and escalation of self-harm methods ticked every box.

I have kept busy following up the responses to the Regulation 28 and have left no stone unturned. If Jake had not been so vocal and shared his thoughts and appointments and his mail with me then I would not have known the half of it and there would not have been a Reg. 28 and certain changes would not have been implemented across GMW. I am very proud of Jake and how he fought so hard to stay alive. I try not to dwell on how Jake died, but hanging just sits on your shoulder, it never really goes away.

Grief is exhausting and hard work. I am learning to let go of some things and to embrace the changes that could make a difference to someone else.

Much love.xx

What Drives Me?

Missed Opportunities & Lessons Learned

How many times do we have to keep hearing these two phrases after Investigations and Inquests? When I received a copy of the Regulation 28 issued by the Coroner (recommendations to prevent further deaths) after Jake’s inquest Dec 2015, I was absolutely stunned to read ‘This has happened before and lessons have not been learned’.  I will continue to follow up the recommendations and changes to ensure that others get the support that they are entitled to.  These changes are all that I have.

Looking for Support?

There’s a lot of bereavement support websites available and there’s also local bereavement support groups too. I’ve listed just a few of the websites I found helpful below. But please feel free to drop me a line too either via my contact form or via email at melanie@aftersuicide.org.uk.

Jake was quite obsessed with this quote. It’s a good job I did not bury him in his jimjams.

Jake

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Helpful Links

Further Support

The Face Of Suicide

This website provides a way for survivors to tell their story, remember their loved one, talk about their feelings, give advice about what support they are getting, and help others understand just how it is, facing each day.
Visit the The Face Of Suicide website

Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS)

SOBS exist to meet the needs and overcome the isolation experienced by people over 18 who have been bereaved by suicide.
Visit the UK SOBS website

Tough Enough To Care

This site aimed predominantly at men of all ages who currently fall into the trap of having to act macho instead of talking about feelings and the main aim is to prevent male suicide.
Visit the Tough Enough To Care website

Get In Touch

Sometimes having someone else to talk to can be an enormous help at such a difficult time. So please feel free to drop me a line using the form below and I promise to get back to you.