Daughter of Derbyshire man who took his own life urges people to discuss thoughts and feelings

The daughter of a much-loved Derbyshire man who sadly took his own life is urging people to discuss their thoughts and feelings with others.

Thursday, 20th September 2018, 1:53 pm
Updated Sunday, 23rd September 2018, 10:27 am
The late Terence Neal. Picture submitted by family.

Terence Neal, 77, of Cheetham Avenue, Unstone, died by suicide when he placed himself in front of a train at Dronfield railway station in April.

During Mr Neal's inquest at Chesterfield coroners' court last month, his daughter Tricia Black said: "My father never made any mention of harming himself to anyone."

Now, Tricia has spoken to the Derbyshire Times in a bid to raise awareness about suicide prevention.

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The late Terence Neal. Picture submitted by family.

She said: "Recently there has been a great deal of talk about the phrase 'committed suicide'.

"I'm not worried about the semantics - I just want people to feel comfortable talking about suicide, its symptoms, its prevention and repercussions.

"Anything else is a waste of breath."

Tricia told how her father's passing was a 'surprise and shock to my whole family'.

She said: "Since my dad's death, I have researched the effects on others and the causes and the symptoms that friends and families can look out for.

"I did this in order to satisfy the unanswerable question 'why?'

"I have found that there are a number of risk factors which make people more likely to kill themselves.

"These are: having a diagnosed mental health condition, drug and alcohol misuse, a history of trauma or abuse, unemployment, social isolation, poverty, poor social conditions, imprisonment, violence and family breakdown.

"I do realise that some of these symptoms, as with my dad, are tricky to spot.

"This is why it is important to discuss our thoughts and feelings with others.

"We all need to have real conversations with our friends, families and colleagues.

"Knowing the risk factors, the symptoms and creating an open dialogue means that we are more likely to be able to intervene and save lives."

She added: "I feel that suicide prevention is not just the responsibility of certain professions - everyone in society is accountable.

"It is therefore important that society is educated to be aware and intervene appropriately.

"There are a number of websites that offer training. www.zerosuicidealliance.com has free video guidance for suicide prevention; papyrus-uk.org runs workshops for professionals and the public.

"I do feel very strongly that GPs and those on the frontline of mental health should attend suicide intervention skills training regularly.

"Posters and leaflets for mental health groups should be placed in prominent places within and around public areas, specifically GP surgeries.

"Telephone and online support posters should be placed in conspicuous positions and not just in suicide blackspots.

"These should help to initiate and inform conversations."

Tricia paid tribute to her father, fondly remembering him as a 'lovely' man.

She said: "He was big-hearted, had a ready smile and was unstinting with his time, not only with us, his family, but those within the local community.

"At his funeral the church was full of people who wished to say goodbye.

"He made friends wherever he went.

"He will be missed by us all."

Please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/suicide for advice and information about free helplines which are there to help you. Please remember that you are not alone.