Family Want People To See Last Picture Of Uncle, 26, Before He Took His Own Life
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The family of a 26-year-old who tragically took his own life wants the world to see the last-ever photo taken of him, hoping to show that there's not one way 'suicidal' looks.
Steffan Rees' bereaved family recently shared the final image taken of the doting uncle with his niece sat on his shoulders. The picture is filled with pure happiness and joy, as Rees taught his niece the words to 'If You Are Happy And You Know It'.
Rees was described by his sister Sian as the 'life and soul of the party' and someone who 'lit up the room'.
His passing came as a devastating shock to his family, who were not aware he was struggling with his mental health.
Speaking to WalesOnline, older sister Sian said: "I couldn’t have asked for a better brother. He was only 26, had a loving family, beautiful girlfriend, and didn’t say anything about having any mental health issues."
The heartbroken sister revealed that her loss motivated her to help support others who have been affected by suicide, leading her to team up with bereaved widows Lisa and Ana, who have also lost someone to suicide.
The trio have set up a support group for people in Wales called Living in Suicide Shadow (LISS), in the hope of breaking the isolation experienced by many people.
"We are a peer-to-peer support group that aims to break the 'isolation' that we often find ourselves in by organising face to face and virtual meet ups, walks, family activities with people that understand the pain of suicide," explained Ana.
LISS is currently working with Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), a suicide prevention charity.
CALM has launched a new project called The Last Photo which aims to highlight that there isn't a 'face of suicide' and not everyone is always noticeably struggling, with people like Rees appearing happy on the outside.
The outdoor exhibition has been unveiled on London's Southbank and displays the smiling photos of 50 people in their last day before they died by suicide.
A picture of Rees is showcased along with images of Ana's husband Lee and Lisa's husband Peter.
Lee was pictured on a day out with friends in Pembrokeshire which was filled with 'plenty of laughter'.
Speaking about her husband, Ana said: "Never in a million years would any of us believe that he would be gone less than a couple of months later."
Lisa's husband was pictured pulling a face at the couple's 33rd wedding anniversary celebrations.
She said: "To see the exhibition was overwhelming: a sea of beautiful faces both young and old, male and female, under the leafy canopy of trees along the Southbank.
"Hard to believe all these happy smiley people had died by suicide."
New research from CALM found that 61 percent of people would struggle to tell someone if they were feeling suicidal, with the charity encouraging people to have the conversation around suicide, break the stigma, and ultimately, save lives.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, please don’t suffer alone. Call Samaritans for free on their anonymous 24-hour phone line on 116 123
If you're experiencing distressing thoughts and feelings, the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is there to support you. They're open from 5pm–midnight, 365 days a year. Their national number is 0800 58 58 58 and they also have a webchat service if you're not comfortable talking on the phone
Featured Image Credit: CALM
Topics: UK News, London, Mental Health