I lost my brother to a preventable suicide he fell through the cracks systemic failures by the trust an social care team under and the supported housing team were he lived. It’s the worst way to lose someone you can never prepare for, comprehend an understand why. I lost a baby born still born in 2002 I knew she was to be born stillborn due to severe spina bifida an hydrocephalus I knew as she took her last breath I’d hold her in my arms I’d kiss her on the head and I’d say goodbye, I lost my Grandad back in February 2017 I called in on the Morning of the Day he died to the hospital the Doctor told me that day when my Nanna came in they’d be stopping his medicine, taking his oxygen away he was getting put on an end of life Pathway, I went up to my mums saw my nanna an held her told her prepare for worst, I went to lighthouse academy my friends held me up, prayed with me I was preparing say goodbye. That night I went back to the hospital treatment had been stopped, as many family members as could were contacted, notified mad dashes to the hospital, he was surrounded by family held he was not in pain nor alone I got to say goodbye even though I wasn’t ready. Nothing can prepare you when you lose a loved one to Suicide because you can’t see it coming, you don’t expect if you knew or had a chance you’ld do everything in your power to stop from happening. This week I read in our legal teams argument for Article 2 systemic failings led to the events of my brother’s preventable suicide , I read that my brother had already passed when the paramedics got too him and probably had been a no of hours it breaks my heart to know he was lost, alone an in his final hours an until found had died that way. I wasn’t their to hold him, my mum didn’t get hold him even though an adult was her baby she did didn’t get that chance like I did with my baby somehow prepare an be their and like with grandad we knew we all surrounded wrapped round him he’ll have felt an known was loved I hate the feeling that losing my brother to a preventable suicide has done I hate knowing he may have felt unloved, unworthy, uncared for because he was. Losing a loved one to suicide is not only their lives lost but also part of you, your family dies too it feels strange, unnatural, not right, it’s broken, fractured, damaged your heart, the heart of your family dies too you get swamped into a dark hole, dark skies descend over all you know, life, joy gets zapped from you. I hate that I didn’t know, didn’t get chance stop, didnt get hold my hand out pull him back, I hate that I didn’t get say goodbye I hate that I don’t get angry at him, I hate that I can’t ask him why, I hate that I can’t bring myself to hate those who failed him, I hate I don’t have an axe to grind I hate that I want to give them a chance to learn lessons from his death I hate it’s been me, my family who held out that olive branch and I hate that they’re reluctant too take I hate that I can’t hate them want give them a chance I don’t understand why because they robbed me of my brother, my best friend , I want scream, yell call them murderers because of their systemic failings but I can’t because I know he deserves more, I know I’ve to give those a chance who failed him, I’ve to fight the legal system for article 2 to make his life matter, his memory, his life be remembered, he be remembered as someone who deserved help, be supported, cared for, a life worth saving and him not be just another life sadly lost to suicide, him not be a statitistic because he was worth more than that. Losing a loved one sadly to a preventable suicide flips your world upside down an know all can do is try make sense off and fit the jigsaw puzzle pieces together that led to that day to understand why and then with that completed puzzle find a way grieve, mourn say goodbye an try prevent someone else from sadly taking their live, give those that failed ideas to come up with pathways, measures to build safety nets to try ensure dosent happen again, I don’t have anyone can go to that can talk to about so I share my feelings here in my blog I know people struggle to talk to you about, ask how help, I know because I struggle with too. I hope that people reading who are in same place my brother was would contact me so I can help you so you don’t do what my brother did as you are worth more than that, for those that have lost a loved one to suicide to feel free contact me you are not alone it may feel it but I know the pain you feeling I feel it too, to Services, councils, NHS trusts social care providers that want make a difference to people affected by addiction, mental health and homelessness and put mental health on their patient safety strategies or looking at suicide prevention of people society turns their back on we’re culture around people with combined needs or are seen as unsafeable or attitudes around personality disorders needs challenging or your pathways not inclusive your not getting everyone on one or you need improve your community contact me if you genuinely want learn knock on my door because like I said lives like my brother’s matter let’s work together an make a difference I can’t bring him back but his memory, story can help save life’s.
Today Dad I saw you again, brought Myles with Me, Myles has seen you know twice he knows your his Grandad he loved playing his games with you today an only wanted play them with you he dosent know the you from the past nor care about or need know to him building a relationship with you is easy, child’s play he gets to know you for the now, the hear, the present to him it’s like you’ve always been their even though it only twice he does not get anxious or panic an worry about what we’ll talk about or say, will it feel strange or awkward dosent need pray for Gods intervention an be on our side as we pray an build a new relationship, wish I could follow Myles lead an attitude not let fear or the past get in the way because your are different to the Dad I Knew and used be, I know that the Drink stopped you from being the Dad I wanted you be and I can’t keep partly holding you responsible for things that went on in my life because when do that will stop us moving forward also Drink was the poison not you and wasn’t your personally that was not their it was the Drink that took you away. It was nice to watch Myles and you play it made it easier to chat an talk as you did, it felt normal like an everyday afternoon of a daughter an her son visiting Grandad and pleased went like that, I’m pleased Myles too taken to you wants be around you, see you play with you and feels safe an loves you automatically because your his Grandad and he’s a good judge of character too an today was nice follow Myles lead and attitude and the foundations an building blocks of our relationship be built on the today’s an the tommorows the moments have an can plan have, build how a child would build a relationship one free of guilt and judgement an one of love an innocence an natural care free approach to its strange a four year old been a mediator, the bridge of the gap and not realise they are but that’s the magic I suppose of been a child and child’s play as to them it’s easy, simple they don’t see ifs, buts, whys an the what ifs to them theirs no process navigate, mediate an weigh up an assess. The quiet an awkward moments were their but only briefly Myles he as soon as felt that was loud look at me an so snap out off. I hope our relationship continues to grow an Too flourish we’re still in the very early days taking baby steps so since doing that will build up like child’s play now so that we grow, we develop, we’re strong an when stumble as toddle jump back up an brush down for its time to take that journey, that walk those baby steps here’s to having a child like, childs play attitude and thank you to both you and Myles for today as it’s time I had my Dad back in my life and looking forward to our journey now an we’re will lead us too x x x x
Last night I was emailed by National Mind as one of their campaigners to submit to them a 20 word tweet that they would tweet today as part of their campaign to stop the #MHCuts and #protectthe #NHS. Today at same time am enroute to London to work with the Royal College of Psychiatry as a service User an Carer board member to their conference as they look at the five year forward and community mental health transformation Pathway and sadly the start of today feels bittersweet an bleak as with every will in the way even with the most passionate people their an even with every bit of negative stories shared to learn from an even stories of good practice that could be implemented service users, carers, family members an 3rd sector, social care and statutory services will be still up against and the money needs to be their, Funding needs to be made available to many lives are currently either been failed or lost due to failings in Mental Health Care, My brother sadly has been one of those lives been lost when he sadly lost his live people did say more needed to be done for Mental Health Services that their was long waiting times, difficulty accessing services, not enough acccess to regular contact with professionals overseeing care, unable access therapy, crisis care an specialised support an at time wasn’t ready listen to that as an excuse or factor in my brother’s death as in today’s society we should be able provide adequate care, funding should be their and so why isn’t it why did our government help assist in my brother taking his own life where were they were was the money that should have got him a bed at a specialist my rehab an recovery unit as it was down to their been a 2 year waiting list and funding why when he an us as a family were turned down for when he first presented needing help, were was our govt when he was unfairly detained in prison due to a mh breakdown an no beds available for him a judge would of spared him that if their had been a bed available for him, my brother thought so hard to recover but he was always up against it passed from service to service, no regular community mental health or social care support became lost in a system designed to protect people, I could stay bitter an hate the system but it does me or my family nor my brother’s memory any good we can only fight for change campaign for and use my brother’s story his memory to ensure no other family goes through what we do, its heart wrenching, gut wrenching an mum I know you’ll read so sorry if upsets you but it is soul destroying knowing your loved one died feeling alone an that apart from his family no one cared for him and that he was made feel that an that no one was going to help him and that after 21/2 years felt exhausted every Avenue and in desperation did something stupid and sadly it cost him his life an it breaks my heart he died alone in a place supposed to be providing him support an care an supposedly their just be funded be private landlords as a sister feeling that pain is unbearable so I ask if on twitter please copy an share my tweet ” My brother’s suicide could have been prevented if had access to specialised support deaths like his can be prevented stop mh cuts. include my name . @KatieAnnSiobhan and share my blog and #Do4Tim #StoptheMHCuts my family and I can’t so Teresa May, Jeremy Corbyn, Jeremy Hunt, The Chief exec of NHS England were’s they money gone, where’s the money to fund #mhcare if don’t provide an deliver sadly more lives will be lost in memory of my brother please don’t let that happen.
On the 26th August 2016 my life as I knew it stopped, yet the world still continued to move and time did not stop, On the morning of the 26th I woke with a 101 things needed an wanted to do planned phone my sister see if she needed me go back across an see her and help sort out her housing issues, I have a big mouth an person in my family known shout and get people heard, catch up around the house , try do something fun with my son, knew I had to phone my brother Timothy check up on if he was ok as had a missed call the day before upset and pleading for help that voicemail will now forever haunt me. Even though I knew I wanted phone my brother for some reason I kept dawdling putting off when woke was telling myself will do but first Katie need sort Myles. Whilst Myles managed was having his breakfast I thought I’d take 5 have my coffee then phone Tim my mobile rang it was my Nanna’s number that came up for a moment before answering in my heart I prayed my grandad was ok as part of me thought she was phoning about him. Nothing could prepare me for me for what she said I won’t fully divulge the full details but enough just to say my brother had taken his own life, I’m not sure if was because didn’t hear her say first time or because zoned out to what she was saying or stupidly didn’t know how respond to but I had to ask her repeat what she said the first time and it was then in that moment that instant I knew my brother an best friend had gone an From that moment on life changed for a long time for me life has stopped even though is moving around past me but me for me the world stopped that day as I’ve not wanted move on nor ready to I struggle accept Tim’s gone not ready face that harsh reality an reality of why I convince myself he’s busy he’s happy but he’s ok I suppose they’re the things I like believe he has found in Heaven. I don’t view my friendships, my relationships in the same way as I used to I don’t seem bothered for idle gossip, coffee an play date catch ups and selfishly no interest in other people’s life’s as am purely focused now on protecting my own little family unit an that of my immediate family my mum, my brother, my sisters an our children I feel I owe it them play big bro and big sis and I owe it Tim to keep his memory alive. We don’t call the actions Tim took as Suicide as we see it his death could have been prevented the 21/2 years leading up to that date showed my brother’s fight for Recovery to be him again he reached out so many times asking for help us as a family did too spent many a night with him in a and e as did the local police force taking him down to be assessed but time and time again even when free from still ignored his Mental Health needs and blamed the drugs or the things he was obsessing over and paranoid about were social matters and couldn’t help yes you could because they’d took over his Mental Functioning he became tormented by a doll that he first thought was his protector but then it took hold an control it spoke to him, bullied him and controlled him to point morphed into that persona but apparently that too got overlooked he engaged with volunteering wanted go back to work, wanted a place call home, wanted feel human again most importantly he wanted be Tim again an he did fight so hard to have that but sadly he became to dependant on one key worker and probably dependant on Crypt an lighthouse his safe space became sanctuary and his bubble. Services sadly enabled that too happen they didn’t take him on their recovery bus help him with his Self Care, identify an address his triggers what to do when crisis hit an were to go when needed help but yet at crisis told him he had to ask for I used to thing they were either a) blindly ignorant orb) extremely stupid as he’s here can’t you see him he’s asking I can see, I can hear why not you. Right up until the day he died he was screaming for help I’ll never understand why when he was taken to a and e why never admitted, never understand neither why his gp only offered him coffee an biscuits you saw he was broken why didn’t you get him help. Where he was living they advertised provided crisis an respite support and will never understand why they didn’t offer him an nor will I accept that they’re not partly accountable as how can you just be private landlords if we’re he was living was under assessment an classed as a transitional home a place supporting people with needs like Tims is probably why I don’t accept is Suicide as because I know more could have been done an I know Tim I know the act he carried out he did was because most drastic the one that would get them really see he was screaming out for help also I suppose I don’t call suicide because I’m not ready accept he didn’t want to be hear no more, not ready accept he wanted to leave us and nor ready accept it was his Time. They’res loads been spoken of at the moment about suicide an zero alliance a zero attitude to suicide I kind of feel that doesn’t relate to my brother as he and the family knew the signs even told people providing Tims care what look out for an when he was in extreme distress he wasn’t a danger to others but himself, Tim also had suspected LD was a recovering addict around 12 months free of substance misuse he was also someone who ended up past from pillar to post and a vulnerable adult and was known to services an should have been supported I feel that the zero alliance is looking at suicide prevention from people that are not known so what do you do for people that are known an how do you help them an how do you help families like mine come to terms an face the harsh reality they’ve lost a loved one to suicide so for the time being ill fight for answers for him, try make Services work better to support people like him, I’ll keep his memory alive an I’ll keep campaigning more should have been done an I’ll continue shout his death was not suicide but a preventable one an ill do that for him in the hope others do not become lost and that through him others maybe found an that people like him they’re lives are made to matter an not tossed to one side an so that people like him have the oppurtunities to be a part of society, be human again but most importantly be a person as Tim he just wanted be Tim again x
Mental Health Positive Practice Awards the biggest insult to individuals an families affected by especially to loved ones who’ve lost a loved one due failings in services and are having to fight for answers why, one of this years shortlisted entrants at her old trust did great things but is know at a new trust been their just over a year started a few weeks after my loved ones passing that trust have never behaved in away that’s worthy of positive practice towards my brother or my family but yet celebrated in the accoloade of the nomination they were a trust that demonstrated positive practice, I’d like ask then is positive practice sending a stranger to someone’s home no involvement in the care of the person who coming say sorry for their death is positive practice, is giving a grieving mother an siblings a book about bereavement positive practice is telling them the trusts going to carry out a serious incident review but I’m not involved in positive practice, Is positive practice telling a grieving mum who trying fit the pieces of a jigsaw together to find answers why that she can’t have her dead son’s medical notes because she didn’t have power of Attorney positive practice, is not having no direct contact or email address an having ring every dept within your trust to find the named professional handling the serious incident review positive practice, is it positive practice to then get handle the families complaint as well as the incident review, is it positive practice to give to someone who new post the task for them to meet the family but then decide can’t do and ok pass someone else, is it then ok then that person rush do an compile an apparently get loads of changes made coincidently the month report compiled an no family involvement positive practice and then except a mum say’s ok but yet not gone an discussed with her just sent her an her advocate through the post positive practice, is positive practice having a complaint drag on not resolved one that didn’t need be made if supported an work with the mother and family through their grieve an give them answers looking for positive practice. The nominee maybe worthy of their award but please don’t let the trust be part of that accolade and say their a trust that demonstrates positive practice because that just causes further hurt an pain an upset to families like mine especially when complaints still ongoing, answers still not given an now in the legal domain an why not named the trust that’s going to take credit for been a positive practice provider an I’ve to sit bite my tounge an stay stronger even pray an hand that upset to god an ask for peace in hope my mum gets the answers looking for so she can one day be able start to mourn an grieve her son but the why’s and how could happen and why not helped put the brick wall up an barrier to mourning up because till you can comprehend the why it’s a case then you can’t and I hate seeing my mum have to fight try be strong an worry about her not been able mourn an what will happen when she gets the answers is that positive practice have a family stuck in their grief unable mourn especially when you hold that power to answer but choose not to because saying sorry for the failings means accepting accountability positive practice. It’s also to individuals that live with mental health an access services an insult them theirs positive practice awards you shouldn’t need awards to make your staff be compassionate, challenge the way things work, initiatives should come from wanting to do through Listening an working with individuals an common sense not coproduction an through caring an isn’t caring why you signed up to the job, to make a difference an isn’t it what your their supposed to do anyway an what to your fellow colleagues an departments who want do great an positive things but are hit by staff shortages, high demands to access services, working out on the margins when hit by service cut right back an try make a difference an to them positive practice is risking burnout as they go extra mile supporting someone with complex needs go unnoticed acceptable not really because what they do goes over looked by things like positive practice awards but yet shouldn’t and they don’t care don’t get credit they’re just doing what signed up for their job, To all at the positive practice awards enjoy but to the trusts going share in ask do you really dare share in that accolade and also ask yourselves if it’s prestige an awards and accolades your driving force to ensure you get job done ask yourselves why, and remind yourselves individuals and families expect to be treat with care, with dignity, be listened to with compassion they’re not desirable criteria for positive practice it’s why you should be doing the job and providing the service you provide.
Today on my Facebook Timehop the pictures of your bench been exhibited at Leeds Art for Recovery Event popped up Tim, I remember during the time my grief felt raw an after I’d got to know Gary, Jon Swales an met your friend Kim at St George’s Crypt and the love she had for you an the journey you were on I knew as a family we had to honour that, recognise that an even say sorry that we didn’t take time see the Recovery Journey you were on, You were quiet, You loved helping make beds up in Crypt, helping out in the kitchen been one of the team, You too enjoyed blending in to the surroundings have a cuppa, meal read your paper you felt safe, welcomed even at home, we met Joe he told us what a good lad you were, wiped away my tears when the guilt hit why didn’t I get see this Tim, We heard all about TCV, Hollybush on clearing your things from that place you didn’t feel home or safe we found the files you kept certificates for various recovery courses, and your pride an Joy the Bench you’ld been working on it was beautiful. We got your Bench finished off a plaque put on, We framed some of your certificates sat them on the bench placed a cushion underneath to kneel on it would be a place sit an remember you by. I remember in my pain also feel excited about exhibiting for you, was nervous too, I remember anticipation Gary finding out if we could exhibit as subject was art for recovery and relief when said ok, I remember when I emailed your bench’s submission. A place to remember you by it honoured your journey, your fight for recovery an would now be a place we’d sit at talk to you as we worked through the devastation of your loss. I remember the day Gary collected for Mum’s I was nervous, prayed be safe in storage, be safe in transit hope people saw our sadness an pain but also our Joy for you, I hoped you’ld be watching down from heaven an beaming our Katie did good and she’s seen I did good too an hope you were smiling because you were an artist an one that was in recovery you were beating your addictions, you were giving something thing back, been a friend you were working your way back up, your Bench, your certificates they demonstrated that I just wished you were their with us as we celebrated and honoured that, I remember the day the exhibit arrived I was nervous, panicked an again excited worried would get their in time. Relieved my friend Gary from church was taking me across from Bradford to Leeds think in the car on the way over talked his head off don’t think he minded though, was lovely see my friend Sue from Church their too. I remember awaiting mum, Nat an Jay arrive was getting nervous would they make in time, also really wanted see your exhibit first before opened up to everyone but remember had wait whilst judging finished hoped they’d got your piece would see the love we had for you. I remember they opened up the exhibit their was a circus themed piece one were put heads in gaps an pic below pictured us do that, by your Bench their was a statue of a deer or horse facing your exhibit if you’ld have been their you’ld have attempted ride it, bargain for it probably would have found away have exhibited at home. I remember seeing your exhibit tucked in the corner , remember sitting an chatting with you couldn’t wait mum, nat an jay get their show them your spot when they came in their sadness an pain they were sombre nat had go early she’d let the guilt overwhelm her in wishing we’d seen your journey sooner and you should have been their wish I’d told her you wouldn’t want see her sad an you knew in your heart we were their and you understood, I wish could have told her felt same an that in away hoping entering your exhibit said that. I however though didn’t chase after her as thought would then be running out on you, your exhibit, your memory. I remember stood awaiting judging your category came up it didn’t win I felt crushed thought why didn’t they see the love for your journey your memory and felt sad for mum wanted floor swallow me up but then one of the judges said they had a prize for someone that epitomised why they were their, the reason why they put the exhibit on for, for the journey of recovery and you won the overall prize I wanted jump up and down scream yes you did it and know yes it was recognised, I remember showing you your certificate, your trophy an telling you wow you did it, I chatted to a few of the fellow artists remember mum n Gary an one of his colleagues an our jay stood chatting by your Bench an about you we all laughed and had same thought about the horse statue an in that moment I looked an smiled at your Bench because their we all were surrounding you an remembering you by. Your trophy know stands by your casket at Mums an your Bench has a place in my bedroom with your certificates on an your best shoes an cushions underneath like have a piece of you too at home with me and each night I tell you I miss you, I love you remind Myles it’s your Bench not his and laugh because your Bench really has become that place, that spot, that piece I will always have remember you by and I laugh because I know your laughing at the sentiment an I know you now know we were proud hope that when I talk to you, you look down and sit beside me and that your with me as I know begin recover from the pain of your passing, I love you forever an not a day goes by don’t miss you, I love you Tim.
The buzz word in Mental Health Stigma, we must speak out, we must were it label it lovely smiley faces on twitter at the moment I have Mental Health its ok say have , it’s ok you get help. I salute you for being proud, I salute your optimism, I used be loud, be proud open about my experiences was told was inspiring it boosted my confidence, lifted my self esteem a short lived adrenaline buzz but sadly no changes came were made, society gets an understands stigma are open to help they just don’t know we’re go, were access and get doors opened to care, Joe bloggs on the street does care, does understand I usually knows someone or even they themselves affected by. I don’t engage as much now with speaking out campaigns, wear my label on my sleeve now because I lost my brother to a preventable suicide he had both Mental Health and Substance Misuse he didn’t face stigma from his family or friends it was from the services that were meant to support him those that are now behind twitter campaigns like #I have Mental Health, I saw my brother at times at crisis took him to A and E be told he’s to ask for help is not sat in A n E over 8 hours in height of crisis not asking for help, when did ask for got turned away past from pillar to post, Even when stopped taking drugs was always told “it’s the drugs” it’s the drugs. Never asked him why he ever became an addict, Never explored his childhood upbringing, never asked Why if did ask Why they’d have seen then yes it was because of the Mental Health but they never did they stigmatised because of the substance misuse. My brother was stigmatised because of a Dx he was given Anti Social Personality Disorder the condition shut doors to access to recovery, was probably why assessments for suspected learning disability got passed up, passed up not just one professional that suspected was most who came into contact with him, why did you not do when came to you when spoke out said I’m here I need help, his protector Dennis a doll became his tormentor took his identity offer, the doll got into his head told Tim what do we his family asked for help knew he possibly wasn’t mentally ok even asked for support an help but got turned away. I do have Mental Health needs myself an manage I recognised certain things in my brother, Hearing Voices, Dissociative Identity, Depression, Obsessive an Compulsive Behaviour, self harming because he’d felt lost control needed help was not helped he openly said had but didn’t get so is why know I struggle support an engage with #IhaveMentalHealth. I’m only doing this blog because need rant get my upset, anger, frustrations out I’ve to do that to manage mine so don’t obsess about, get worked up about, have it bring me down and me turn on myself internalise and berate myself for not speaking out an challenging the #IhaveMentalHealth. The angry voice inside me wants say it’s patronising, that those that failed in my brother’s care murdered my brother they didn’t carry it out but nor did they step in an prevent it’s too late now for sorry. Campaigns like #I have Mental health are belittling to individuals and families affected an they’re belittled by the association of the unnecessary use of the word stigma, we must talk about yes stigma led to my brother doing what did but it wasn’t because of lack of understanding but care for all those professionals sharing their photos, retweeting posts ask yourselves why are you sharing, retweeting are you actually as a result of that post go out make a direct action, something that does get help, get changes made and actually stand up make a difference it’s time moved on from speaking out an do for those brave enough do, speak out, do for those who ask for help and on my post look at the photo and do for my brother Tim someone who said #IhaveMentalHealth help me the person whose voice not heard and do for my mum, my siblings an our children who have to live with his loss, live with pain knowing asked for help and enough not done because we don’t want people going through what we are.