Suicide prevention: Daniel’s story

My big brother was a happy go lucky kind of guy. He’d do anything for anyone, had a heart of gold as well as the warmest of smiles.

That’s why it came as such a shock when I woke up on an April morning five years ago, at the age of 22, to my mum asking me to look at Daniel’s Facebook post which simply read “I’m sorry” with a location of the Needles.

Hours later, the police confirmed that they had found a body, and it was believed to be his.

My dad was on the mainland and my brother-in-law was in Wales at the time. I can’t even begin to imagine how awful their journey back to the Island, knowing that they had both lost a best friend, and my dad his eldest son, would have been.

Meanwhile, we gathered with friends and family at my sister’s house where we supported each other through what would become one of the most difficult days in our lives.

Daniel riding the sand dunes of Dubai

As the days, weeks, months and eventually years passed, we have learnt to carry on with our lives, but have never forgotten Daniel. If I am asked how many siblings I have, I always say I had two sisters and a brother, as challenging as that can be at times. Sure, every now and then we have a little cry, but we also have fond memories too.

According to the Samaritans, In 2015 there were 6,639 suicides in the UK and Republic of Ireland. While this year suicide rates hit a 30 year low, as too many of us know all too well, every death is one death too many.

Jed and his family this summer

And so as we mark World Suicide Prevention Day this week, take a minute to remember that even those who appear strongest from the outside, can be the most fragile on the inside.

Start up that conversation with your neighbour, chat to the person you see every day at the bus stop, make sure those nearest and dearest to you know they have someone to talk to.

I lost my brother on an April morning five years ago, but other brothers, sisters, mums, dads, friends and neighbours could be saved. It’s up to all of us to make that a reality.

If you are struggling to cope, you can call Samaritans free on 116 123 (UK and Ireland), email, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of the nearest branch.

This story was written by Jed Dwight who grew up on the Island with his family. He now works for an MP in Westminster and was elected as a Councillor in the London Borough of Sutton in May. He uses both roles to improve mental health provision and to tackle stigma around suicide and mental health.