‘I couldn’t cope with the thought of losing my mum so I tried to end my life five times in 18 months’

‘I couldn’t cope with the thought of losing my mum so I tried to end my life five times in 18 months’

- in Usa News

WHEN 18-year-old Jack discovered his mum Sharon didn’t have long left to live, the pain he felt was indescribable.

The idea of seeing Sharon die and living without her was too agonising for the tortured teen and he tried to end his life – his first of five suicide attempts.

Jack was extremely close to his mum Sharon

Tragically Jack is not alone, and the statistics are harrowing.

Rising numbers of young people are resorting to suicide, and every  two hours in the UK a man takes his own life.

Suicide rates among girls aged 10 – 24 have reached record levels, rising 83% in the last six years.

And 200 schoolchildren take their own lives every year – that’s four a week.

Campaigners warn young people are growing up in a pressure cooker, with school stress, social media and body image issues all playing a part.

This week The Sun will be highlighting the issues young people are facing with a series of special articles to mark the first anniversary of our You’re Not Alone suicide prevention campaign.

Even with the horrifying stats above, men are three times more likely to end their own life than women.

A new Channel 5 documentary called Suicidal: In Our Own Words follows six men – including Jack – and their journey as they’re admitted to the Riverside mental health unit in Hillingdon, North West London, while at their lowest ebb.

Speaking to The Sun Online, electrician Jack, now 20, reveals how he tried to take his own life five times, after struggling with a string of deaths in his family and the devastation of knowing he was going to lose his mum – as well as the guilt he felt at not being there for her more because he was so unwell.

Jack lost his dad when he was just nine years old, and since then he’s had to deal with a string of deaths in his family
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‘Mum knew instantly there was something wrong’

Growing up in Hillingdon, North West London, with his mum Sharon, lorry driver dad Spencer and his younger brother, Jack had a happy childhood until his father died in a road accident when he was nine.

“My childhood was great. My mum was brilliant – outgoing, the life and soul of the party, she was just amazing,” he says.

“I remember my dad was always smiling, he was always happy, and loved Fosters – that was his drink and always reminds me of him.

“My dad was 39 when he died. He was ten seconds away from work. He went out to work on his motorbike and crashed on the way to work and died on impact.

“The police knocked at the door in the morning before school.

“My mum knew there was something wrong because he always used to call her every time he got to work to wake her up and this one day he hadn’t called so she knew instantly.

“I just freaked out, and completely broke down. I don’t know how I got through the weeks that passed.

“I just got on with it. I had to.”

Jack felt he had to ‘be the man of the house’ after his father passed away, which resulted in him bottling up his feelings

‘I kept my emotions hidden’

Following his father’s death, Jack felt he had to take on his role. He also didn’t want others to see how much the loss affected him.

“I had to step up and it was tough,” he says.

“Everyone would say, ‘You’re the man of the house,’ and I took it literally – I felt responsible for everything that happened to my mum and brother, who was five at the time.

“I kept my emotions hidden to stay strong for them.”

Sadly, this wasn’t the only traumatic death Jack had to deal with at a young age.

When he was 14, his granddad died after a short illness, followed a year later by his beloved nan.

“My granddad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and it had spread, and within three months he’d died,” Jack says.

“It was like losing my dad all over again. He was my best friend. I broke down a lot.

“A year later we went on holiday to scatter my granddad’s ashes and my nan had a heart attack holding my hand and died then and there.”

It was then, when Jack was 15, his mother also became seriously ill and he became her carer.

“She was type one diabetic and got a lot of complications,” he explains.

“She then had a heart attack and was in an induced coma for two months when I was 16, and had to learn to do everything again. That was hard, and we became her main carers. We had to help her do everything – get changed, wash, empty her commode.

“I felt I had to stay strong, and didn’t speak to anyone about how I felt for a long time. I didn’t want to accept help, and wanted to protect my loved ones – I felt it was better I suffered and I just gone on with it.”


If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:

  • CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
  • Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
  • Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
  • Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
  • Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123

‘I didn’t want to see my mum die’ 

In 2017 Jack was diagnosed with depression, and prescribed anti-depressants. But in May last year he reached breaking point when he was told his mum was terminally ill.

“I was trying to deal with the fact that my mum wasn’t going to live longer than three years, knowing that she was going to die,” he says.

“She got put into palliative care and that’s when I was admitted to hospital and sectioned, because I tried to kill myself.

“Everything built up and up and I got to the point where I just didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t deal with it.

“If my mum wasn’t going to live I wasn’t going to – that’s the mind set I had – I didn’t want to be there to see my mum die.

“My mum called an ambulance and that’s when I was admitted for a month.”

Once home, Jack attempted to take his own life a further four times over the coming year, and was in and out of hospital.

He says: “I felt empty and numb. I couldn’t feel emotion for a long time.

“Hospital was the only place where I felt like I wasn’t a burden on my mum or anyone if I hurt myself.

It was a place I could be looked after and protected rather than stress out people I care about that didn’t need the extra stress.

“I felt like a burden – I was one. Because of everything my mum and brother was going through – I felt like I was making it worse by being in hospital and stressing her out even more.”


EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.

It doesn’t discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.

It’s the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.

And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.

Yet it’s rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.

That is why The Sun launched the You’re Not Alone campaign.

The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.

Let’s all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You’re Not Alone.

If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:

  • CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
  • Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
  • Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
  • Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
  • Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
  • Movember, www.uk.movember.com

‘I felt responsible for my mum’s death’

Not only was Jack dealing with his own illness, he also felt a responsibility for his mum while she was unwell too.

“We had moments together – we tried doing things and just made sure we spent time with each other,” he says.

“We went to Harry Potter World – that was one of the things she wanted to do before she died – just tried to enjoy the little things. We just spent time together, that’s all I needed – just time with her – I didn’t need anything else.

“But I felt responsible for my mum’s death. I felt and still feel it and there’s nothing I can do to change this, I feel like if I hadn’t been ill and stressing everyone out I could have been there for my mum and she might have been here longer.

“I feel I should have been there more for her rather than be in hospital – that’s my biggest regret in life.

“She was my best friend.

“People told me it wasn’t my fault I was ill, and I know that – I can’t help it. I’ve accepted it now.”

Jack’s mum died in August last year.

“I came out of hospital and within a few days my mum began to deteriorate and went back into hospital,” he explains.


CREATING a safe and welcoming environment is an important part of addressing your child’s mental health problems.

  • set aside uninterrupted time with your child
  • create a safe place for them to talk
  • let them know that you are always there for them
  • let them know that they can talk about anything they are feeling
  • if they don’t want to talk straight away don’t push them
  • use gentle language like “I’ve noticed you have been sad lately, I am always here if you want to talk”
  • do not make it an inquisition by asking lots of questions like “why are you sad?” and “what is going on?”
  • encourage them to speak to a friend or teacher if they don’t feel comfortable talking to you


“A few days later she couldn’t talk, and within days she’d died while I was there.

“When she died I was a mess – I was getting messed up all the time, drinking and doing drugs.”

Speaking in the documentary as he’s admitted to hospital feeling suicidal earlier this year, he admits: “I [looked after my mum] for so long – it was so normal, to look after my mum, now me needing help myself makes me feel lost.”

Four months since filming the documentary and being in hospital for ten days, Jack is back at work as an electrician full time and off medication, and is feeling positive about the future.

He says: “The last two years have been a blur. I know I can’t dwell on everything – I want to make my mum proud, and enjoy things again.”<
Suicidal: In Our Own Words is on Tuesday 10 September at 9.15pm on Channel 5.

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