How a stranger taught me a lesson after my brother's suicide
Point of View is an ITV News series where we invite people to share their life experiences and what they've learned from them.
Ben West faced the shock and horrific reality of losing his younger brother in their teenage years after 15-year-old Sam took his own life following severe depression.
Ben said his outwardly confident brother had felt too ashamed of his inner struggles to talk about it at school.
Then, as he and his loved ones mourned Sam, Ben found himself keeping his grief hidden, pretending he was coping to friends.
"Every smile was forged and every laugh was fake," he said.
Then one night Ben found himself in tears, in the street, opening up to a homeless man.
He explains the impact that conversation with a stranger had on him and how he has used it to spread a powerful message, while sharing what he now wishes he had told his brother.
The 18-year-old Ben now campaigns for mental health training to be compulsory for teachers, launching a Save Our Students petition, while promoting the The Sam West Foundation.
What to do if you or someone you know needs help:
If you are in distress or need some support, the Samaritans are available 24 hours a day on 116 123 or through their website.
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