Making Conversations Count

The questions I wish I could have asked…

Helen Stuart
One of the most painful things about losing someone to suicide, is the palpable sense that in many cases, it is preventable. I want to share my story in the hope it will lead to what could be, lifesaving conversations.

It’s been 12 years since I was told my Dad had died by suicide. Until that very moment, my understanding of suicide was what I had seen in films or TV. I never thought it would impact me closely, let alone in such a direct and devastating way.

12 years on, I am still navigating through the vast emotions that not only encompass grief but with the added complexities of being bereaved by suicide. I have spent the last 12 years asking myself the same questions.

Could I have said more, asked more, done more. Would this have helped? Would this have changed his mind?

We are starting to talk more about mental health, and I am so pleased to see the conversation changing. But are we prepared to ask those uncomfortable questions? Has your friend stopped replying on the group chat, is your family member avoiding meeting up? Sometimes that person needs you to ask them, are you ok? Do you need to talk? Do you want some support?

And then there’s the even harder questions. Are you thinking about harming yourself? Have you thought about dying? It’s hard and it’s terrifying to ask. But imagine if it was you that was feeling that way and felt unable to start that conversation yourself.

You might feel like you can’t go on, like suicide is the only way to stop the pain, like you are a burden to your friends or family. I am bereaved by suicide and I can promise you now that your loved ones will always choose to have you. You are not alone and you won’t always feel this way. Friends and family will ALWAYS want to be given the chance to help if you’re feeling suicidal. It’s a difficult conversation, but its far more preferable to the devastation of suicide. I am sure we all saw the powerful message delivered by UFC Paddy Pimblett last month “I know I’d rather my mate cry on my shoulder than go to his funeral next week” and I couldn’t agree more.

Feeling suicidal is more common that you would imagine. You are not alone if you have ever felt this way. Talk to someone you trust or contact any of the organisations detailed at the end of this blog.

My family and I forever have to live with my Dad’s decision to end his life. It’s unbearable and heart breaking that he didn’t feel able to reach out. I would give anything for the opportunity to have helped him. If there is one thing I can do in his memory, it’s to continue to raise awareness and encourage people to talk more and ask the difficult questions. Maybe if my Dad had read a blog like this, his incredible life would still be being lived.


Helen Stuart

Daughter of Robin


read the article on the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership website:

Greater Manchester Bereavement Service:

Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm (except bank holidays) call: 0161 983 0902 Everyday 8am to 8pm call: NHS Bereavement Helpline on 0800 2600 400 Email: [email protected]

Immediate Support

If you’re struggling to cope, you can call Samaritans on 116 123 or text Shout on 85258.

Advice and Resources