Suicide Prevention Day: "I'd had enough, I was exhausted, I wanted to be with my brother"

  • Daniel Skipp reports

A West Midlands Police officer has opened up about his battle with mental health.

PC Stephen Thompson say he had suicidal thoughts after his brother was killed in a road accident- but talking about how he was feeling saved his life.

PC Thompson says as a police officer he was used to being the bearer of bad news, but nothing prepared him for being on the receiving end of a "death message".

He says: "Looking back now I realise how bad it must have been for the officer doing that, to tell someone you work with that news, it must have been awful."

Stephen's parents passed away one year earlier and his brother Paul didn't have any other family, so funeral arrangements were left to Stephen.

In the weeks after Paul's death Stephen says he was engulfed with anger towards the driver responsible for the accident that killed his brother.

I was going down and down and down to the point where down turned into pure hatred, I would have done anything to get retribution.

PC Stephen Thompson

Stephen says after the funeral he was so focused on "getting to court" and "seeing justice being done" that he didn't realise how low he was feeling.

He says he expected to be relieved when a guilty verdict was given but instead that's when he started to feel at his lowest.

He says he was exhausted, he wanted to see his brother again, he didn't feel like doing anything anymore and he thought about taking his own life.

Stephen describes how he was feeling when he was at his lowest on Boxing Day last year.

He says as people were getting ready to go to parties he didn't feel like doing anything but think about how easy it would be to end everything.

"I thought that would be the best way" he says. "But thankfully something clicked in my head that doing this would have so much effect on my two sons, my wife, everyone around me and it wasn't right."


3 x

Men are three times more likely to die by suicide

45-49

Middle aged men have the highest suicide rate

Under 25s

Suicide rates are rising amongst young people


Help is available

Stephen says that when he reached out and asked for it "help came in bucketloads" and opening up and talking to people is what saved him.

Stephen received counselling through work, met with support groups that he found on social media and took advice from charities.

He adds that he found it difficult to speak to his family about how he was feeling and it was easier to open up to strangers.


How can I get help?

If you're struggling with your mental health don't stay silent. Help is out there.

  • Try speaking to a loved one

  • Try speaking to a friend or colleague

  • Look for local support groups on social media, these could be led by a church or a community group

  • You can call Samaritans on 116 123 , or if you don't want to speak to somebody directly you can email jo@samaritans.org

  • Tough Enough to Care is a helpline directed at men who're struggling

And remember: speaking to a number of different people or groups can sometimes be the best way to process how you're feeling.