A woman hopes to raise awareness and break down the stigma of suicide after her father took his own life.
Peter Harris, 56, hanged himself six years ago without any warning that he was suffering.
He was well known in Rugby and used to run dry cleaning shops in the area.
His daughter, Lucie, now works with a charity called Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS), which helps those affected by suicide.
She said: “I have learned about suicide by meeting brave people that share their experience in addition to professionals that have helped me to understand that my Dad died of an illness, just like other people’s dads do.”
Lucie said lack of understanding and awareness contributed to the stigma that is often associated to suicide. “My Dad was far from selfish – he was ill,” she said. “One in five people will become depressed at some point in their lives. Thankfully less than 5% of people treated for an affective disorder will go on to take their own life. Most of know someone who knows someone that has been affected by suicide, we just don’t talk about it.”
Lucie recently took part in the Malvern Hills Challenge with a team of fund-raisingSOBS members. She said: “We walked for nearly six hours, climbing and descending 17 peaks. It was exhausting but positive on so many fronts.”
The team included Eric Lane, who walked in memory of his fiancé, Emma Ann Cave, who took her own life, aged 30.
They have raised £1,700 for the Leamington SOBS Group so far. Visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/LeamingtonSOBSgroup
If you have been affected by a suicide and need support, call the SOBS helpline on 0300 111 5065, which is open from 9am–9pm every day.
Lucie said: “The best legacy in memory of my dad is to share what I learned from him while he was alive combined with all I have learned because of him after he has died.”
“Suicide is not just the loss of one precious life. It’s the loss of that life that often devastates many other lives. SOBS is currently campaigning to expand their reach from 60 groups in the UK to 100. They need to raise £50,000 to do this, to develop and training their current support group volunteers and to employ additional staff to ensure that they have professional support for existing groups.”
For more informationvisit https://campaign.justgiving.com/charity/sbbs/supportgroupcampaign