We lost our son Dan to suicide in 2018, an event that nothing can prepare you for, and our lives changed forever that morning.
Since then we have gone through so much with very little support, no real guidance and had to struggle to find our own way. From very early on we wanted to do something to help others in the same situation and if it gives some means to losing Dan, then maybe it’s a little bit less painful.
The size of the problem
Every year over 6500 people take their own lives in the UK, and the numbers seem to be rising. It is the fourth leading cause of death among 15-29 year-olds and men aged 45 to 49 are the most at risk. Furthermore, for each suicide, there are more than 20 suicide attempts which can be equally traumatic for family and friends.
Whilst there are many organisations and campaigns trying to slow this never-ending horror, and let’s hope the figures do drop, the reality is that suicide is a part of the human condition that is a major cause of death globally and with all the best intentions in the world, is unlikely to stop.
So we want to help those that are often forgotten, the people who are left behind. The world health organisation says each suicide affects 137 people, and these effects can be dramatic
A study in the British Medical Journal found that people bereaved by the sudden death of a friend or family member are 65% more likely to attempt suicide if the deceased died by suicide than if they died by natural causes, bringing the absolute risk up to 1 in 10, there is also an 80% higher chance of quitting jobs or education, and increases in mental health issues and substance abuse and potentially life long trauma or PTSD among those left behind.
The effects vary hugely, the experience of losing a child, partner, sibling, parent, friend or colleague is very different with each presenting in different ways. The one thing that can be agreed upon is that losing someone to suicide is a special kind of grief. The lack of any kind of preparation, feeling guilty, shocked and the trauma of a sudden death combine to make this a particularly wrenching event.
All of this is happening at the same time as they are trying to deal with the everyday effects and issues, dealing with the rest of the world that doesn’t know what to say, so often avoids them. Dealing with work or education that don’t know what to expect or how to treat them or how debilitating it can be for people.
Add to these feelings of guilt, fear of others doing it, loneliness and abandonment and much more means the end result is a huge impact on a person.
There is no time limit to the suffering, since we went through this we have met others that 30+ years later still have days when they can’t get out of bed or will be triggered by something that just breaks them as if it was day one all over again.
How can we help?
Life After Dan wants to help by reaching out to these people. Offering practical day 1 advice, telling people what to expect in the coming weeks, months and years and giving them a community where they can connect and talk to people. A place to ask questions and find out if what they are going through is normal.
We also want to engage with businesses to give them the resources we hope they never need and make them aware of the help available and where to direct those people that need help.
We need businesses, Doctors, police, Funeral homes and other organisations to flag L.A.D. as a contact point as soon as possible after an event happens.
We are creating a large online resource and growing social media presence and will use these to promote a growing range of free offline services to those in need.
What is Life After Dan?
We are a registered and approved community Interest Company (C.I.C) which is a legal status given to not-for-profit companies that have a public goal that has been approved by the Regulator of Community Interest Companies and is registered with companies house and the HMRC. We have to submit annual reports detailing our work and finances and are legally “ASSET LOCKED” meaning it cannot sell off any part or possession’s of the business and should the company be dissolved all assets have to be transferred to another registered CIC or charity – in our case this is CALM ( the campaign against living miserably )who we have previously raised over £5000 for since Dan’s death.
You can find all our company details or CIC statement and details of the asset lock at the companies house website.
What is a C.I.C ?
A community interest company (CIC, pronounced “kick”) is a type of company introduced by the United Kingdom government in 2005 under the Companies (Audit, Investigations and Community Enterprise) Act 2004, designed for social enterprises that want to use their profits and assets for the public good.
A community interest company is a business with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are principally reinvested for that purpose in the business or the community, rather than being driven by the need to maximize profit for shareholders and owners. CICs tackle a wide range of social and environmental issues and operate in all parts of the economy. By using business methods to achieve public good, it is believed that CICs have a distinct and valuable role to play in helping create a strong, sustainable and socially inclusive economy.
The community interest company emerged from many sources, often citing the absence in the UK of a company form for not-for-profit social enterprises similar to the public benefit corporation in the United States.
CICs are diverse. They include social and community enterprises, social firms, mutual organizations such as co-operatives, and large-scale organizations operating locally, regionally, nationally, or internationally.