Get help

Spotlight Shape

Get help today

Donna’s story

Donna, who lost her son Anthony to suicide, encourages everyone to talk about suicide and mental health.

“I really believe that the more we have conversations about the more we find the right language. I can remember a time we didn’t talk about cancer and people didn’t go for help.”

That’s the view of Donna who lost her 30-year-old son Anthony to suicide on March 31, 2013, following his 12-year battle with bipolar disorder.

Anthony, a musician from Ashton-under-Lyne, was a popular, energetic and intelligent young man with a brilliant sense of humour.

Sadly though, due to the disorder, he was constantly in and out of hospital and struggled to cope with debilitating side effects of strong medications.

Donna, who in June 2014 set up The Anthony Seddon Fund with her husband Brian, said: “After struggling to access adequate support following Anthony’s death, we vowed to continue his legacy by helping people in similar situations. We now have The Anthony Seddon Fund Charity Shop in Tameside where we sell donated items to enable us to provide a space for people to discuss their mental health concerns. That place is The Anthony Seddon Centre in Ashton-under-Lyne which is a safe and welcoming environment that offers support for people with mental health concerns via a drop-in-service, a range of activities and support groups.”

Donna said: “I am shining a light on suicide for my son Anthony and my family.”

“The more we talk about it the less we are frightened of it.”

“Just because I lost one family member to suicide it doesn’t mean the rest of us are immune. I have a brother who has borderline personality disorder and lives with suicidal thoughts every single day of his life. And I have a younger son, Ben, who really struggled last year when he turned 30. He was really badly affected by Anthony’s death and found it hard to face the fact that he was now the same age as his big brother.

“If we talk about things more, we can improve people’s chances of recognising signs and ensure more people are prepared to look for help.”

Donna also firmly believes that ‘you don’t have to have a qualification after your name’ to be able to talk about suicide.

“I can’t emphasize that enough,” she said. “Stand your ground and be prepared to support people even though you’re not formally qualified because I can guarantee that just asking if someone’s alright and putting your arm around them, or giving them a cup of tea, and letting them talk, is invaluable. Even lifesaving.”

Donna said nature needs to take its course if ‘we are to collectively open up and discuss suicide and mental health’.

“Talk about things, cry – it’s so therapeutic,” she said. “Nature knows what’s best for us. If the tears are there, let them come. And don’t apologise for it.

“When people come into our shop or centre for support we might say ‘how have you been feeling in yourself? Have you thought of harming yourself? Have you harmed yourself?’

“The more we talk about it the less we are frightened of it.

“I also think we owe it to ourselves to do some very basic suicide training. We don’t have to pay for it or sit in a room for hours. You can go online. There are some fantastic resources. The Samaritans have got some great resources. Then there’s the free training that teaches you how to talk to someone about suicide and it only takes about 20 minutes.

“Practice it in the safety of your own room. How would you ask somebody if they were alright and what would you want somebody to say to you?

“We believe it’s everybody’s business because you never know when you might need to have that kind of conversation. It’s nothing amazing that we do. It’s simply listening. And everybody can do it.

“If you allow people to share their story then there’s a good chance that you’ll find a solution together or get help together.”

The ‘Shining A Light On Suicide’ campaign has been commissioned by Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership to take the sensitive subject of suicide out of the dark and encourage everyone to talk about it in an honest, open and direct way, so no one sees suicide as a solution to their problems.

Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 49, women aged between 20 and 34 and is the leading cause of death in people aged 15 to 29.

Statistics show that many men in particular who have died by suicide did not ask for help or speak to someone before they took their life.

The #shiningalightonsuicide campaign encourages people to talk about suicide in an honest and open way so no one feels it is a solution to their problems.

Together we can help prevent suicide. Suicide affects us all. Encourage someone to talk before suicide seems their only option.

Back to all stories