‘It still haunts me that I had to tell my mum about my brother’s suicide’

‘It still haunts me that I had to tell my mum about my brother’s suicide’

 

A man has recalled his mum’s heartbroken sobs after he told her his brother had taken his own life.

Calum McGurk was just 27-years-old when he killed himself, leaving his family devastated.

It fell to his brother Dan to deliver the tragic news to his mum and two sisters at home in Jarrow, South Tyneside, Chronicle Live reports.

Three years later Dan, 34, can still recall his mum’s heartbroken sobs.

“The sound of my mam when she heard the news still haunts me to this day,” he said.

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“It was like something you would see in a film.

“You think there’s no way anybody could sound like that but it was the worst sound I’ve ever heard in my life – it was horrific.”

Calum’s death caused double devastation to the family who also lost their 23-year-old cousin Elizabeth to suicide in 2002.

In the weeks leading up to his death the air conditioning engineer had broken up with his partner.

He had been forced to move back into his parents’ home having had to sell his house for a loss, something Dan said dented his pride.

The day before he killed himself in a hotel in Chelmsford – where he had travelled to start a new job – the two brothers had a seemingly happy pint together.

Dan continued: “(Calum and I) were close brothers and he was one of my best friends.

“He was a beautiful, strong, hardworking, good looking man’s man…. he had everything going for him and he could have done anything in life it seemed.

“We’ve lost so many young men and women in our hometown of Jarrow in recent years and after an awful 2020 for the world, I have seen the effects on everyone’s mental health, including my own.”

Dan hopes that he can help to break stigma some people feel there is around talking about mental health.

He added: “For generations there has been a stigma attached to openly talking about feelings, particularly amongst men, but we need to start working to remove that.

“It’s okay to open up about your feelings and even if someone is not ready to talk, I found writing my feelings down until I was ready has really helped me to manage my own mental health.”

Now the family is fundraising to raise awareness and money for suicide provention.

In the past three years they have raised more than £20,000.

Calum’s family and friends set off from the Lawe Beacon in South Shields on Sunday for a 26.2mile walk to raise more funds.

To support their effort click here.

The Samaritans is available 24/7 if you need to talk. You can contact them for free by calling 116 123, email jo@samaritans.org or head to the website to find your nearest branch. You matter.

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