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In Focus: The suicide 'crisis' among Welsh men

Nicola Abraham and Lisa Noman have known each other for years. Their sons Jacob and Andrew were the best of friends, they said they were brothers. Now the two mothers are united in grief after the two young men took their own lives.

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Both were healthy social men in their early 20s, but both were recreational users of drugs. Nicola and Lisa believe that was a major contributing factor that led to their sons deaths.

But there is another dimension because Nicola and Lisa say society puts pressure on men not to talk about their feelings and thoughts about suicide.

"We need to be able to ensure that it is ok to cry, it is ok to talk about your emotions and it is ok to say 'I have thoughts of suicide'. There is no shame behind that and by reducing the stigma and ignorance around it then we can encourage young men to be able to open up about their feelings."

– Nicola Abraham

Suicide is the single biggest killer of young men. Recent figures show that 274 men took their own lives in Wales last year, that's 75 more than 2014.

The two mothers believe we're now in a crisis situation. They know of at least 11 families in the Cardiff area alone who have lost men to suicide in the last two years.

Looking back Nicola believes the signs of a problem were probably there. After a night out Jacob would have extreme lows which were linked to the recreational drugs but after a few days he would bounce back.

But at the time she couldn't see it. Jacob had plans. He was due to take his driving test the Monday following his death.

He was 24 years old.

Jacob was 24 years old when he died. Credit: ITV Wales

Andrew took Jacob's suicide badly. He couldn't accept that his 'brother' had done it. He told his mother Lisa how he couldn't imagine getting married without his best friend. Andrew even had Jacob's image tattooed on his chest.

He threw himself into work and raising money and awareness for a charity set up in Jacob's name. He tried to persuade others not to follow the same path but in July this year, after a night out Andrew text friends telling them to look after his girlfriend and mum. His body was found hours later in a Cardiff park.

He was 23 years old.

Andrew was 23 when he died. Credit: ITV Wales

Lisa and Nicola are speaking out in the hope changing attitudes about suicide. They want us all, especially men to talk about their feelings and not hide them away. Above all, they don't want another family to suffer like they have.

For more details on the Jacob Abraham Foundation click here

If you wish to speak to someone confidentially about suicide then call the Samaritans for free on 116 123.