Guernsey mothers speak about losing sons to suicide amid new mental health strategy

Two mothers whose sons took their own lives have spoken about the need for a more open discussion around suicide Credit: ITV Channel

Two mothers who lost their sons to suicide have spoken about the importance of having someone to talk to, as Guernsey's government announces its new mental health strategy.

Mandy Le Bachelet's son, JP, was only 14 years old when he took his own life, while Sarah Bamford's son, Matthew Butterfield, ended his life in 2018 at the age of 42.

Sarah is now co-founder of the charity 'Talking Benches' which aims to increase discussion around suicide.

"Mandy and I are members of a club that actually neither of us chose to belong to." she said.

"We're on a journey and the journey is the suicide journey. You're always on the journey because of all the unanswered questions... Why did it happen, could I have stopped it from happening?"

Mandy also emphasizes the importance of the importance of there being more openness to speak about suicide.

"When JP died in 2008, my husband Colin and I just wanted to talk to somebody. How they coped with losing somebody they loved through suicide. Nobody, nobody would talk to us."

Guernsey has a suicide rate of 15 in 100,000 people - higher than the rate for England and Wales which has a rate of 11 in 100,000 people.

Sarah says that although improvements have been made on Guernsey about education on suicide more needs to be done.

"I think more's been done with mental health but it's not enough. There's no joined-up writing. People are not talking about what they're doing and actually improving the journey for the person who is on it. "

Both Sarah and Mandy will be among those helping to organise Guernsey's first conference on suicide due to take place next year.

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