A devastated mum has urged parents to have an “awkward five-minute conversation” with their kids after losing her 14-year-old son to suicide.
Tracey Tyler, from Nuneaton, in Warwickshire, has bravely spoken out after her son Sam died last year.
Her plea comes on World Suicide Prevention Day, as she admits she had no idea he was struggling with his mental health, and wants other parents to listen to her story in the hope it saves lives.
Sam was online talking with friends when he told them he would be “back in two secs”. But tragically he never returned.
“It has been 16 months and a few days since Sam died, it doesn’t get any easier,” she said.
“I would say to any parent, please have that awkward question: a five-minute conversation could literally save a life.
“I wish someone had said it to me with Sam because I would have done, I know that barriers would have been dropped and he would have said ‘yeah mum, I’m struggling,’ I know he would.
“But, like all kids, they don’t want to feel like they are upsetting their parents by saying anything, or have it be brushed off.
“I would say, if you sit down and have that five-minute horrible conversation that no-one ever wants to have, it could save a life.
“I know it has because I have had messages from people who had seen Sam’s story and spoke to their child and they had told them they were suicidal or wanted to hurt themselves.”
She went on: “Kids who kill themselves think we will all be better off if they are not around and that is the shocking thing, to think that Sam might have thought that – it is like an illness and it is undiagnosed.
“I used to say, when Sam first died, I wish he had died of an illness or I wish he had died in an accident. But he did die of an illness, I just didn’t know he was poorly and that is the thing that I have to live with.
“I didn’t see that he was suffering but it is an impossible thing to see, because they are so happy. None of his friends saw it, his girlfriend didn’t see it, he seemed so happy.”
Tracey is championing a national petition for specific mental health provision within all schools.