The Silence Of Suicide

Strange title you may think ..... but it is the silence that precedes the ultimate act of those who tragically decide to end their lives.

Friday 31 July 2015 sees promotors Anna Christian Productions and Michael Mansfield QC return to The Assembly, Royal Leamington Spa when Michael, Helen Lederer and other notable speakers will lead a public awareness discussion intended to promote a better understanding of those who contemplate taking their own lives as well as the plight of those left behind. Anyone concerned with, or suffering from, mental health issues is encouraged to come and participate and use this evening as their vocal platform.

Despite its frightening prevalence in today’s society, suicide is still, in some quarters, considered taboo and retains a stigma which society must strive to eradicate, by generating understanding and eliminating ignorance.

There will be an opportunity to watch a short film, produced by Victor Lewis-Smith, Jasper Warry & Anna Christian Productions, which will include thoughts from bereaved families together with contributions from Ruby Wax, Laurie Taylor as well as Michael, whose daughter Anna, (to whom the film is dedicated), recently took her own life.

There is FREE entry to this discussion, which runs from 8pm - 10pm, but seats will be strictly limited on a first come first served basis. To reserve your seat(s), simply email your full name, together with the number of seats your require, to: [email protected].

We are supported in our awareness efforts by the charity Mind and donations to them will be actively encouraged. Part sponsorship from Mansfield Chambers.

© Anna Christian Productions 2015

  • Sharon Rose

    I have a published book that described my own experience of losing a brother who took his own life.
    “Living in Grief Loving in Grief ” by Sharon Rose

  • Graham Wye

    In April this year my son, Jonathan aged 32, took his own life. He had been suffering from mental health problems for the past 15 years and my only consolation is that the pain he had endured for all that time is finally over.

    He is in my thoughts from the time my eyes open in the morning until I fall asleep at night but I feel that I have to keep my thoughts to myself as there is no one I can share them with.

    Thank you Michael Mansfield for speaking out about your own loss, suicide is still a taboo subject to too many people. My deepest sympathy goes to you and your family, I know how much it hurts.

    • mark rigby

      I’m sorry for your loss.

      Thank you for understanding that the very real pain people suffer from depression can be so overwhelming that ‘not being here any more’ is the most positive way someone can feel.

  • mark rigby

    Having attempted suicide many times (the last resulting in being sectioned as well as 8 hours of dialysis with needles like drainpipes stuck in my neck ), I would like to speak, at least from my experience, on behalf of the disillusioned and distraught .

    Everyone’s path to suicide is different but the results are the same. People that have never suffered from it can never understand (no matter how much they want to help or how sympathetic they are) the abject, empty-souled bleakness that is depression.

    I’ve spent 10 years in a hinterland of abject misery and have only very recently started to find my way out.

    I wasn’t a waster or work-shy person. I was a much sought after software engineer that got paid £2500 a week for my skills. I traded that in for alienating my friends, destroying my relationship and spending my days crying in the corner of my parent’s spare room.

    Depression destroys lives. It’s not just, as the best man at the wedding I attended (the first time I’d dare leave the house) a matter of ‘Growing a pair’.

    My sympathies to all that have or are close to those living with this problem. It’s a killer that the NHS is not remotely adequately funded to deal with.

    • Rosemary Porter

      Thank you for sharing your experience. We lost our son three years ago to suicide. However hard this has been and still is, for us, we know it must have been so hard for him, to make that dreadful decision. Our thoughts go out to you too in your determination to live.

      • mark rigby

        Thank you. I’m so sorry for your loss – I imagine outliving your child is a parent’s worst nightmare.

        I can’t imagine how you come to terms with such a thing but I can tell you that your son would have been in such a self-destructive bubble that, no matter how much you cared or how much you tried, you couldn’t have brought him out from.

        Suicide is an incredibly self-centered act (n.b. NOT selfish!). That’s the irony – You think everyone else in the world hates you or is talking about you or is laughing at you and you just want that to stop. It can be overwhelming.

        I hope you’ve found a way to make peace with such a tragedy x

        • Rosemary Porter

          Thank you Mark, kind words and very helpful from your perspective. ‘In a self-destructive bubble’ seems so very apt for our Matthew. He was so caring as an individual and we know he would never want to hurt us or his brother and sisters, but in a bubble all you can see is your own pain.

          All the best to you in the future and for your support for others.

          • mark rigby

            It is often the most sensitive, caring, loving people that suffer the worst from depression. It’s not an overwhelming ‘fuck the world’ (pardon my language) frame of mind that drives things. It’s an ‘I care so deeply about everything that I’m overwhelmed’ – that becomes so hard to live with.

            I hope you can take some solace in the fact that, while he was here, your son experienced the world so strongly and passionately that, however young he was when he died, he had lived lifetimes in experience

    • Retired Nurse

      Shame they never even ask people like you…

      • mark rigby

        Not many people as determined as I was end up sticking around to give advice…

      • mark rigby

        That sounded bleaker than I meant – if anyone would like to talk to me about depression. I’m happy to share my experiences, though I’m in no position to offer advice or guidance.

  • Monica De Birch

    So bold, brilliant and brave and necessary to open this dialogue, to breach the barrier and talk freely. We lost our sister, Meg and even 11 yrs on I think about her and feel embarassed to say what happened. Catholic guilt. Thank you Michael and everyone involved.

  • southlondonlibdem

    Thank you, so much, Michael, for your moving interview this evening. Thank goodness the taboo of suicide may finally be being breached. My father (also a lawyer)committed suicide in 1969, after suffering severe bouts of re-occurring depression, when I was 14. Thank God that people, even back then, did talk about it, and family friends and my school were supportive. I have come to respect my father’s right to have taken his own life (as you yourself said, in relation to Anna), and the context of severe depression, and his frequent hospitalisation for ECG treatment made it comprehendible. He simply could not bear carrying on with the huge weight and burden of his chronic depression. What we do need to do, however, is to look at the genetic roots of depression. As you hinted in your interview, reoccurring depression and suicide do often run in families, but the psychiatric profession just don’t seem to get it. We are able to predict possible physical problems, as a result of genetic disposition, but not genetic mental health conditions. Simply by asking friends who suffer reoccurrent bouts of depression, and they invariably talk of parents or grandparents who have been similarly affected.

    • southlondonlibdem

      Just realised that I didn’t include my name – Julian Heather (posting as southlondonlibdem)

  • mark rigby

    It feels like, after a few comments, this discussion has run aground.

    I think we owe it to all those that have suffered ( and those that watched them suffer) and all those that have been unable to see an escape, to keep this going.

    Support your loved ones. Those that died, those that are risk, those that recovered despite the odds,.. Share your stories and hopefully we can de-stigmatise depression. The government needs to know just how destructive it is. contact me at [email protected] and, together, we can push for change.

  • Jean scott


    My husband Dan took his life in the summer of 17 years ago. he was one of the nicest, gentlest, funniest, kind and (apparently) easy going people you could ever hope to meet. None of the over 250 people who came to his funeral had any idea he was depressed, so well did he hide it. But I knew and had always known what a struggle life was for him and how hard it was to keep on hiding his secret and putting on a brave act every day. he left me a long letter explaining why he could no longer continue with the struggle and how tired he was of trying. So I absolutely understood and even respected his decision to end his life. But what has been very hard is to live with the legacy of his decision. Our three children have suffered very much as a result of what he did. They have had so much loss and pain and sadness and regret to deal with in their young lives and i am sure their father would never have wished this for them if he could have known how awful life would be for them after he left us. So for them i am angry and sad, even though they are now all grown up and reasonably happy adults. I still think about Dan and miss him every day.

    • Karen Ivey

      Just wanted to say it was lovely to read your post Jean. 17 years is a long time, but as you say you still think about Dan & miss him every day. I lost my only brother a year ago. I am the same, and I have no doubt I always will be, thinking about him everyday, wondering what I could have done, what anyone could have done. If only he had known what a void he would leave, how much we would grieve, how many tears would be shed, how much we would miss him, how much he was Loved, what we could have done for him, we would have done anything for him, anything to help him, to stop him from making such a final decision for himself – He didn’t give us that opportunity, like so may don’t, I only wish…….. He was 56 & there was a year between us so we were very close, he left 3 beautiful children, who were 21, 17 & 13. Why? Karen Ivey.

  • David Shire

    Lost my daughter in July 2014. It feels like yesterday; everyday i have questions; playing out alternative versions of how I could have saved her. Yet in the main, time and love are the two basic resources we dont share often. my daughter had no idea how much love there was for her because our self imposed busy lives are keeping us away from things that really matter.

    • Lee

      Thank-you Michael. Please keep this going.

  • Ina Shields

    I would like to say how brave and honest you were on the interview telling about the sad loss of your daughter .your discussion on suicide was an inspiration to me.Three years ago my wonderful, apparently happy, successful son committed suicide. He was the last person in the world you would have thought would contemplate doing this. Hel left a lovely wife and two sons and knowing them you would think they had a very happy life and he had everything to live for ,sadly on a sunny Sunday morning, he decided to take his own life for reasons we will never know and will be forever asking WHY/
    We have been left devastated as a family and feel the anger; regret and guilt that we
    never got to talk about things or were able to help him.
    I now have first hand experience of the guilt ;isolation and stigma ..and of the silence of suicide.
    I am grateful to you Michael Mansfield for raising the awareness of this issue so publicly.

  • Katie McArevey

    Will the film be put on Youtube? x

  • Katie McArevey

    Found link on Anna Christian’s Twitter feed. Thanks very much. These conversations are so important xx

  • huwwuh

    Suicide or the destruction of self is a figment of the imagination of mankind. It is the chosen explanation that ‘fits’ neatly as a reason as to why a person seemingly destroys self. Nobody takes their own life it is taken from them.

  • Abi

    I had been told about this discussion the day before and only wish I had been strong enough to attend. We tragically lost my sister to suicide less than 9 weeks ago, and it is something my parents and I are trying (yet struggling) to come to terms with. I am finding it very difficult to look to the future of a life without my big sister. It still feels unbearable. She was my best friend and I loved her with every piece of me. She was 28, I 27, so very close in age. 1 year and 3 weeks between us.

    Michael are you doing any more discussions? I read on the Telegraph article that you were planning to hold talks in Cheltenham (where I am from) – I would be so interested to join the discussion.

    The closing words of that article – “We were not anticipating this. I think it’s going to take, maybe forever, to get over it.”, how very true.

    Much love you all who have lost a loved one through suicide. I first hand understand how devastating and hard it is to live with x

  • Wendy pearce

    Our 21 year old son took his own life 18 months ago. It came completely out of the blue and as he left no suicide note, we constantly live with the question “why”!

    The reason for my post is the taboo issue. Although I have never experienced a blatant taboo about my sons suicide, his younger sister now aged 21, does.
    She feels that people of her age judge her and our family and have even openly said to her that she must come from a dysfunctional family.

    It is time to educate people that suicide can happen to the most loving of families and we need to question what is going on. I know suicide has been going on for centuries but it seems perhaps the pressure of life is making this an all to common thing that needs more understanding.

  • karen.gaskell

    The only person I’ve lost and that is myself. I have gone to bridges with the intent to jump maybe the next time I will

  • peterspc

    I can only join this discussion via saying I failed in my attempt at suicide and therefore live to tell the tale , I remember coming home from work and then a sudden feeling of great sadness , how I ended up on the toilet seat with a razor blade in my hand I do not know ?
    So I don’t think that chronic depression is the culprit which many latch onto after the event, oh yes she had been on medication towards her depression ? but what of when a 14 year old suddenly hang themselves in the woods ?
    So I don’t think depression is a good enough reason to kill your self because when you are depressed all you have to do is take 200mg of amitriptyline every night and you will sleep for a week if not disturbed and I can assure after a weeks sleep the last thing you want to do is kill yourself but maybe instead the person who banged on your door to wake you up ? and then comes the inquest oh yes evidence of chronic depression c/o the part time coroner .? tragic loss etc.
    If this new website is going to be of any merit then I would like to say suicide is painless and pain free simply because you are on another wavelength which others are not tuned into apart from Adolph Hitler and Eva Braun ?.
    So what’s to be done about yet another 6000 plus lives going straight to the crematorium or even worse having your tombstone facing the opposite direction of everyone else, because that’s how the Victorians dealt with such an ungodly act ?
    What is the history of suicide ? where did it originate ? and then maybe we can find out why ? because I can assure it has got very little to do with depression, and I do believe there is a better and more lasting explanation for the good of all .

  • Anonymous

    I always thought I was the most strongest of people and nothing or no one could take the smile from my face, over the past twelve months I have endured what most people wouldn’t endure in a life time and I’m still going through it now. I cannot go into details because of the nature of my situation and I have tried a couple of times to end my own life because of the torment I have suffered at the hands of others , I sometimes think that the only way for it to stop would be to succeed in my attempts then I look at my children and it breaks my heart that I sit and think of ways to end it all and can’t come to any other conclusion other than the torment I have inflicted on my family. I am being treated for depression and I have seen a mental health expert who said I have reactive depression. I have pains in my stomach from the gut wrenching feeling of taking my daughter to school and having to face the outside world. To her and my one year old I’m just mommy and these are the children I longed for for over 10 years.
    When they go to bed and I constantly clean I can’t sleep not even the medication helps my mind goes into over drive , I asked people for help and I get brushed aside

    • peterspc

      hello I don’t think this is the right site towards helping with your particular problem as it does not seem to be very well attended , may I suggest you see your gp instead but make sure you tell them you need more than the usual 10 minutes so you need to ask for a double appointment , also do not let them give you Prozac as they create manic behaviour problems , I would suggest amitriptyline at least., you will sleep well without any problems , they take at least 3 weeks to settle your thoughts so wait for it to click in but as I say in between you will get a good nights sleep .