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“To us, Simon was extraordinary”

CALM’s new campaign #Project84 tells the stories of 84 real men lost to suicide, representing the 84 men who take their own lives every week in the UK. Friends and families bereaved by suicide took part in the making of #Project84, including Jonny Sharples, whose brother Simon took his own life in 2014. Here, Jonny shares his experience – one of loss but also one of hope.

My brother, Simon, was probably what you would call an entirely ordinary person – he worked in an office and went down to the pub. He loved to play football and golf. To us, he was extraordinary. Simon would fill whichever space he walked into with laughter and comical anecdotes. He was always there when I needed him in the exact way older brothers seem to be.

To us, he was extraordinary. Underneath it all, though, he must have been struggling.

The last year of Simon’s life saw him go through some difficulties – he changed jobs, moved out of his home – all things you expect to rock someone somewhat. But Simon was still smiling, still laughing, still seemingly okay. Underneath it all, though, he must have been struggling, though none of us imagined to what extent. And then, on the 21st of December 2014, we awoke to the news that Simon had taken his own life.

Jonny with sculptor Mark Jenkins in the making of #Project84

Simon’s life has impacted all those who knew him profoundly. He is in the centre of everything we try to do now, including fundraising for CALM and making sure Simon’s story reaches as many people as possible. Through this, our hope is that maybe someone who finds themselves in the same place Simon did during the last year of his life knows there are spaces to turn to.

Jonny taking part in the making of #Project84 in memory of his brother Simon

Explore the stories of #Project84 and join the campaign here.

Have you been affected by suicide? The Support After Suicide Partnership is a hub for anyone bereaved or affected by suicide, where you can find emotional and practical support and have the chance to share your story.

Need support? Worried about someone? CALM’s helpline and webchat are open daily 5pm-midnight. Get access here.

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