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Taking suicide out of the Box, by Ryan Lewis

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. A day set aside each year by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP). I, like many people, have experienced the devastating effects that suicide has on both a family and an individual. My Dad (step-father) took his own life in 2016. My Mum and I deal with the consequences every day of this terrible loss. In many ways, it was even more crippling for my Mum who lost her own Dad in the same way. I never knew my Grandad because of suicide and it is upsetting to realise that any children I may have, will also never know their Grandad.

Suicide is a difficult subject for so many reasons and one that many people find hard to talk about, but as a society, it is one we need to address. According to WHO, nearly 3,000 people on average commit suicide daily. The causes of suicide are, of course, complicated, but many are influenced by psycho-social, cultural and environmental risk factors that can either be prevented or addressed. There is strong evidence indicating that adequate prevention can reduce suicide rates.

As part of my job here at Lucre and within the RICH team, I have the privilege of creating and making films to tell stories every day. I know the power of film to tell a story, which is why I chose this World Suicide Prevention Day to make what you see now, to tell my story and convey some of my feeling and sentiment about the effects of my Dad’s suicide on me.

It wasn’t an easy film to make but it was one I felt needed to be done. The words of the script which I deliver on the film were ones that had churned in my head and heart for over two years. I’ve felt enough time has passed to finally write them down and share them with others. I shot the film last week, at home, in the room where my dad committed suicide, and it was a difficult experience. I don’t have the best voice in the world (who ever likes hearing their voice recorded?) but due to the nature of what I had written, no-one else could really narrate the film.

I would like the film to be seen by as many people as possible, to be shared far and wide, all in the hope that it will reach other people who may have been affected by a similar loss and provide some hope and inspiration in what we can achieve by addressing the subject. So, please share this film if it moves you to do so.

My Dad was my hero in every sense of the word. The sad physical and subsequent mental illness that led to his premature death was, without a doubt, the hardest episode of my life to watch and be involved in. The questions; “Could we have done more?” “What did we miss?” “Did he know how much we loved him?” remain unanswered. There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t think of him and wish he was still here, so I could ask or tell him something, share a joke or just get one of his big bear hugs.

The aims of World Suicide Prevention Day, are:

  • Raise awareness that suicide is preventable
  • Improve education about suicide
  • Spread information about suicide awareness
  • Decrease stigmatisation regarding suicide

It is my hope that this film, ‘The Box’, can help to meet a few of those aims.

I would like to thank Steve Lord who shot this film so beautifully and my colleague, Rebecca Mann, who edited the film.

If you would like more information or support around suicide, then below are just a few links to some great organisations and charities who can help: