Glasgow & West Scotland

Bereaved families 'walk and talk' about suicide in Lanarkshire

Naomi Foster Aiton
Image caption Naomi Foster Aiton said her partner's death was "the worst thing that you can ever imagine"

Naomi Foster Aiton was three months pregnant with her first child when her partner, Paul, took his own life.

"It was the worst thing you can ever imagine", she said.

His death last August was one of an increasing number of suicides recorded in Scotland. Official statistics show that 784 killed themselves in 2018 - 15% more than in the previous year.

Now Ms Aiton is taking part in a "walk and talk" event supporting people affected by suicide.

Sunday's Let's Walk and Talk About Suicide, in Strathclyde Park, Lanarkshire, has been organised by the charity FAMS (Families and Friends Affected by Murder and Suicide).

It is designed to make help available for anyone affected by suicide.

Image copyright Naomi Foster Aiton
Image caption Naomi Foster Aiton lost her partner Paul Gerard Aiton

Naomi Foster Aiton said her partner's death aged 23 had "devastated" his family and friends.

She told BBC Scotland: "It's supposed to be the happiest time of your life - for yourself, and your partner as well - when you're expecting a child together.

"But it was just hell at the time really - it was the worst thing that you can ever imagine."

"At the time, I felt like I had nothing left to live for. But obviously my daughter has pulled me through," she added.

"I hope that anyone that's going through the same will realise that... you just need to reach out."

Paul's death last August came as "a complete shock".

"There was no signs, nothing - sometimes there is no signs and that's the worrying thing."

Everything's fixable

She said she thought for some people it might be easier to talk to a stranger than to speak to their own friends and family.

Ms Foster Aiton urged people who are struggling to speak up, contact a charity like FAMS and remember that "there's nothing that's not fixable".

"You're angry, upset, lonely and you don't know the reason why - and because there's no-one to blame, you sometimes blame yourself."

Living life after Paul's death has been difficult. She said: "There's no one to blame with suicide as well. When someone's murdered or there's an accident then there's someone to blame, but with suicide there's not and that's sometimes hard for people to take.

"You need to learn to live without the answers, and that's the hardest part - accepting what's happened... and learning to live without the answers, that's difficult.

"The only person that can tell you [the answers] is not here anymore."

Image caption Natalie Frew lost her partner eight weeks ago

Another woman who will be participating in Sunday's event said families were being torn apart by the "horrible epidemic" of suicide.

Natalie Frew lost her partner, Graham Fraser, eight weeks ago. She described him as "my best friend and my baby's daddy" and seemed "the happiest guy in the room".

She said: "It will be eight weeks on Sunday since we lost him so it's really, really fresh for us and really hard at the moment."

Graham was the "happiest guy in the room", she said.

"He was the most amazing father, he doted on that baby. She's literally asked for him every morning and every night and he's not here any more."

'Stand together'

Talking to people who have been through a similar experience to herself has been a great help, she added.

"We can't have anybody else going through the horrific scenes that we've been through.

"We need to to do something and stand together and put an end to this."

Ann Marie Cocozza, from FAMS, said: "There's so many triggers being a teenager or young adult in the 21st century.

"Who do they turn to? Who do they ask? How do they know where to go? So this event lets them see, feel and touch where to go."

Information and advice

If you or someone you know is struggling with issues raised by this story, find support through BBC Action Line.

Related Topics

More on this story