Sami, Northern Ireland
When Sami’s little brother Jay committed suicide, she couldn’t cope with her grief. She reached out to the Lighthouse Ireland Ltd, which uses Sport Relief cash to help people deal with suicide and self-harm. Now Sami helps other people who feel vulnerable.
When Sami wished goodnight to her family, she never imagined it would be the last time she’d see her younger brother. In the middle of the night, she was awoken by her father’s discovery that Jay had taken his own life.
No-one in the family suspected that the 16-year-old boy had been experiencing mental health issues. Even now, several years later, Sami still doesn’t know what prompted him to take his life.
‘It was like a slap in the face’ she recalls painfully of that September 2007. ‘You can’t prepare for it.’
The grief consumed the family and, as time passed, Sami continued to struggle with mixed feelings of anger, guilt and confusion. Realising that she needed help, Sami reached out to Lighthouse Ireland Ltd, a project using Sport Relief cash to help families deal with bereavement, and has now started to deal with her emotions.
‘They were brilliant from the word go’, Sami explains of the mix of counselling and support they provided. ‘It was good to know that I wasn’t going crazy.’
Keen to help others speak up if they are feeling low, Sami was inspired to fundraise for the project and trained to be a youth worker via a placement with them.
Since Jay’s death, Sami couldn’t bear to hear the word suicide. 'Now, I’m not scared to ask someone if they’re feeling suicidal’. For Sami, this is the best way she can honour her brother’s memory.
"They were brilliant from the word go."