Ok, posting this anonymously so apologies. I work in the emergency services and just had a bit of time off after working over Xmas.Posted 2 months ago
Got a call this morning to say a member of our team had taken her own life this morning. I am devastated. We are a small team who get on, have each others backs, work with each other shift after shift.
I deal with suicide/ death on a near daily basis but this has knocked me for 6.
I feel anger, guilt, sadness….but worse is as a senior team member I have to keep it together next shift.
Apparently the reason for taking her own life was the pressure of the job. I feel like I could have done more.
Sorry to bring a downer on everyone, and thanks to Cougar for allowing this.
Not looking forward to the next few shifts.funkmasterpSubscriber
Wish I could offer some help or advice. It’s just shit and my heart goes out to all of her friends and family. I’ve witnessed the impact that suicide has on those left behind and it’s devastating. I’ve suffered with depression most of my adult life and have had thoughts of suicide on and off over the years. Really sorry for your team mate and the place she must have found herself in.Posted 2 months agomattyfezMember
Damn, my condolences.
It must be very tough working in that line, knowing you can’t do your job properly with all the government cuts etc, and trying to rationalise that.
A good mate of mine left the care industry because he was literally being run into the ground. He’s OK now, new job in a different industry but there’s one less compassionate person where he’s really needed.Posted 2 months agoBreganteSubscriber
Sorry to hear that o.p. you don’t say which service and I understand your reasons for doing so. My wife and I are both cops and like you I have experience of suicide but nothing prepares you for something like this when it happens to one of your peers.
Around two years ago my wife set up a peer support network in our force which is run entirely by volunteers (police officers and support staff) in their own time. They each have some form of lived experience of mental ill health. I’m sure she would have some advice for you if you need it and I’ll happily put you in touch.Posted 2 months ago
Thank you. I couldn’t believe how angry/ helpless I felt. Anger at my colleague for not reaching out and anger/guilt at myself for not reading the situation.
That’s normal. Some are very very good at hiding their emotions and feelings from others it may not have been so obvious at the time.
Love to take time off but we are short staffed as it is.
You’re no use at work if you can’t function.
My email is in my profile if you want to really let off steam.Posted 2 months agofrankconwaySubscriber
Oh fruck, that’s horrible.Posted 2 months ago
My thoughts with you and the family/friends of your colleague.
Wise words above about getting support – for you and other colleagues.
When the time is right – and only you can know when that is – talk to your management team about the effectiveness of any ‘early warning’ processes they may have in place.
I’ve attended ‘safe talk’ courses; might be worth exploring.
Stay strong xesselgruntfuttockMember
Not nice for you OP, had it myself in HMPS. A guy who was very very well respected for his attitude towards prison staff & prisoners (& his truthful attitude towards management, ‘ahem’) took his own life at work one evening. He was known to be in the establishment cos his keys were still ‘out’ of the key safe. Very traumatic for the staff member who found him.Posted 2 months ago
Still remember Eddie. 😥HounsMember
That’s heartbreaking to read.
I don’t know what to say, other than good on you for speaking up.
I don’t want this to turn political, but, my FB feed has been full over the last few days about the pressures on the NHS and ambulance services…. years of cutbacks and government not giving a toss… staff who do the job because they are caring and compassionate are feeling totally let down and left utterly broken. I really hope I’m wrong, but your colleague won’t be the only one (I’m sorry of this comes across as insensitive, it’s not meant to)Posted 2 months agoPierreMember
Bloody hell, so sorry to hear that, OP.
I don’t have much of use to add, sorry, except that it’s always tempting to look at situations like this in hindsight and think “I could have done more.” One of my friends from school committed suicide in his first term at university and a few of us got together afterwards and realised none of us had heard anything from him for a few weeks, we’d all assumed that someone else was watching out for him. The guilt / regret / anger that follows that is _very_ hard to shake and it’s important to keep talking to others about it, and to forgive yourself eventually.Posted 2 months agowigglesMember
Sorry to hear that, I know it feels like you could have done more etc but it is very hard to know these things are going to happen.
I had a similar thing where saw someone in work, never suspected anything at all next day they dont turn up and then we got a phonecall from their family… really was a huge shockPosted 2 months agoCougarSubscriber
I feel like I could have done more.
And we all always do. Hindsight is 20/20. You shouldn’t beat yourself up over this line of thinking, you really weren’t to know.
You’re no use at work if you can’t function.
This is a lesson I learned the hard way.
You want to help of course, but the brutal truth is that if you fall over then you’re no bloody use to anyone else. Take some time off if you need, I guarantee that work will find a way without you. Then you can come back later all guns blazing and be actually bloody useful rather than sitting there going through the motions.
Please please, trust me on this. You cannot look after #2 in any sort of meaningful manner if #1 is broken. It’s the hardest thing in the world but you have to do it. Self-preservation isn’t selfish, it’s an investment.Posted 2 months agotjagainMember
I can add nothing to what Drac said really.
You have to grieve for her and accept that will take time. Acknowledge your own feelings
Reflect on what happened yes and learn any lessons you can – but don’t blame yourself. Its not your fault.
I would say PM me if you want to talk anything through but I see Drac ha offered and if I were you I would take him up on it.
On the work front – its hard to advise in any detail without knowing more but you should be getting advice and support from above and be taken off frontline duties perhaps. Are you safe to be at work? If not you don’t go in. What about the rest of your team? Or will the team be able to offer mutual support?
Dreadful situation. I wish there was something I could do to be of help.Posted 2 months agoandy4dSubscriber
Really sorry to hear about this. My thoughts go to the family, friends/colleagues. Very sad.
My work recently held a mental health awareness course that was really good. They talked about the importance of talking and not stigmatising mental health. I am shit at dealing with this sort of thing but it helped me a few months ago when a colleague tried to take her own life. A lovely girl, well liked and good at her job. Thankfully she is still with us. Really shocked me at the time as i just never saw it coming, but we never really do. As her manager I now feel ok to talk to her about how she is feeling, I am no counseler, just someone who cares, and she openly talks to me how she is feeling, she has good days and bad days and is going to regular counselling. More people should talk about how they are feeling, and not shy away from it. It’s good to talk and we are all here to listen. My thoughts are with you at this tough time.Posted 2 months agoUrbanHikerMember
Had similar happen a couple of years ago. Two things spring to mind.
1.Don’t try and work out why they did it. Well, ok, we’re all human, try and work it out. But accept that nobody will ever know why, it’s all just speculation. This also means not laying blame on anyone/you etc too.
2.Don’t let the event become the elephant in the room. Talk about it, don’t be fearful of mentioning it, even joking about it. The worst thing would be to have it never mentioned.
Email in profile if you need to talk off the record.Posted 2 months agopirahnaMember
A mate at work took his life 13 years ago. The day he did it we’d chatted for around 30 minutes after work, he spoke to another colleague in the car park for a few minutes, went home and hung himself. His wife found him when she got home from work, thank **** she arrived before the children.
He was 47 and had be diagnosed with early alzheimer’s, he’d been on medication for a couple of years and I suppose had decided enough was enough. He left behind a 14 year old daughter and 12 year old son.
I thought about him daily for a long time afterwards. Now he comes into thoughts from time to time. When I meet with people from that time at work he’s always remembered, typing this I see him like it was yesterday.
I think what I’m saying is the upset goes away but the memories stay with you, but in a nice way.Posted 2 months agosquirrelkingMember
Two years ago a friend killed himself, its no longer painful to talk about but at the time it was hard going. But we did talk about it and there were no secrets, we’ve all moved on in our own ways since then. Take whatever time you heed, if you need to get out of work take the time off. Likewise if you (yourself) need to be at work then go, so long as you are getting the job done. I went to work as it filled the time and was fairly process based so was good for just switching off. Everyone handles these thibgs differently so go with what works for you.Posted 2 months agolazlowoodbineMember
I think I was the last person to see a good friend alive before he hung himself a few years back. A load of us had been out for Halloween and he seemed no less chipper than normal, I’d never thought of him as depressive or even really bothered by anything much.Posted 2 months ago
When I found out I was angry at him, myself, other people who knew him but it was grief and trying to direct it somewhere, albeit unknowingly at the time, didn’t help. Second guessing the whys and what-ifs is going to find you more questions than answers. I wish you and everyone involved the best. Take care.sbobMember
I got back from my hols recently to find out that my best mate’s son had hung himself at the age of 19.Posted 2 months ago
There’s nothing you can do to prepare for that shit, and I felt totally lost.
Just be there for others, and hope others are there for you. If they’re not, we’re here for you.
Suicide is the second biggest (non medical) killer after road traffic incidents. Something like a million people globally I believe. It’s such a big problem and we do very little understand why it happens.
Over my working career I’ve known three people who took their own lives, one in particular a young man who I managed and was a popular member of the team still plays on my mind despite it being twenty years ago.
I wish there was as much attention given to the issue as there is other wellbeing issues.
All the best.Posted 2 months agoMr WoppitMember
I feel like I could have done more.
Yes. Me too.
A close working colleague (guitarist and singer in my band) threw himself under a train 18 years ago and hardly a day goes past without thinking “what if I’d done this or that differently/better…”.
I found that it’s better to accept those thoughts and use them as a trigger to meditate on the subject, rather than using them as a stick with which to beat yourself.
All the best and sorry for your loss.
It will get easier…Posted 2 months ago
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