Mum of six whose life was torn apart by husband's tragic suicide aims to start charity to help other heartbroken families
A Lytham mum who lost her husband in tragic circumstances last year has announced her plans to set up a charity to help other people whose lives have been thrown into turmoil following the suicide of a loved one.
Samantha Southern's husband Glen, 46, took his own life on June 20 2020 - a tragedy which she described as 'an atomic bomb in my families' lives'.
The dad of six was found by two of his grown-up children at the office where he worked, one day after leaving his Blackpool Road home.
Samantha, 42, said: "For the past six months I have been passionately thinking about the early days, and I felt there was a massive gap in the system for families left after suicide.
"So much focus on mental health asks for help and prevention, which is a million percent needed. However, when they are gone, sadly it is too late, and for family that has had the atomic bomb go off, the pain, shock, PTSD is catastrophic."
After going through her own struggles and seeing first-hand the devastation following Glen's unexpected death, Samantha resolved to set up her own charity, the Suicide AfterPath.
Through it, she hopes to provide support for bereaved families in the immediate aftermath of suicide.
She said: "Bereavement by suicide is a minefield that ripples, and thankfully for most people it's something they can’t comprehend. I truly would not wish it on anyone. It was so difficult to get access to what we required, and we paid for the most of it. Thankfully my family have accessed many different therapies, however, the true reality is nothing is instantly offered and in all the confusion it's an extremely difficult task.
"The devastation was nothing I have ever felt before. I have always said life’s lessons make you stronger and I have found in these circumstances this has now been true... I have never truly understood why, and I have slowly accepted I don’t need to know as I can’t change it. I did not die that day although a piece of me was certainly broken. The truth is the world does not stop, life moves forward.
"The first days, weeks and months are like nothing you can understand unless you live it. I was numb, I struggled to hold my young children. My best friend was scared to leave me. She has always said she has never seen detachment like that. I could not eat, could not sleep, paced the house over 20,000 steps, barked orders at friends and family, whom were all amazing. I just needed help to try and fix the aftermath that had been left behind and I am eternally grateful for my support network. I contacted so many charities. Everything was self-led and in the thick of those early days I could not lead myself anywhere."
She added: "All this has happened for a reason, and I need to see some positive come from what we have all been through. Glen was a good man that sadly flipped a switch. Suicide is the unseen killer; we cannot be in someone’s head, and we sadly can’t make them ask for help. The sad thing with suicide is it may end their pain; however, it is passed on to the nearest and dearest.
"When I think back to the year 2020 it is with utter disbelief. It truly broke us as a family.
"I aim to dispel stigma, and ultimately raise awareness and support for the AfterPath after suicide. I was very blessed to have an amazing support network and fortunate enough to be able to pay for therapy needed. However, I truly think so much more is needed for the families and friends after such a trauma."
Samantha has already raised nearly £1,500 for the Suicide AfterPath. People can find her fund-raiser online at uk.gofundme.com/f/suicide-afterpath.