This weeks guest is Fiona Tuomey, Founder and Director of HUGG which is an incredible charity that provides suicide bereavement support groups and online resources. In January 2016, Fiona’s beautiful daughter Milly died by suicide at the age of 11, just six weeks away from her twelfth birthday. In the four years since Fiona has done incredible work, campaigning for vital youth and adult mental health services to be implemented countrywide, highlighting some gaping flaws in the Irish health system.
In the interview, Fiona describes Milly with such vivid colour, that it’s clear to see how special of a child she was. “She felt very deeply about things and I felt that her barometer for empathy was really very strong. She could also feel great sorrow. The first time she saw a homeless man in Dublin she cried, and came home and said can I give him all my pocket money, what can I do?”
After noticing a change in Milly’s personality, Fiona was made aware that her daughter was suffering from suicidal ideations, having told her peers she knew the exact day she wanted to die. Shocked and devastated, Fiona and her husband approached the situation with a huge amount of seriousness, but were ultimately let down by the state, after searching for support. The Tuomey families story is an incredibly sad one, and much greater questions need to be asked around the shortcomings of Ireland’s health infrastructure to help those struggling with mental health issues. Fiona’s tireless campaigning for these supports and greater accountability, will undoubtedly play a part in fostering a more proactive approach to dealing with suicide and the families affected by it.
HUGG is a peer support organisation. We provide a safe, confidential environment in which those bereaved by suicide can share their experiences and feelings, so giving and gaining support from each other. The aftermath of a suicide is shocking, debilitating, surreal, life changing. But you can learn to live with this loss. It is not easy, but we are here to help.
People who are suicide bereaved sometimes find it can be difficult for people who have not experienced suicide loss, including professionals, to understand what they are going through. Often the best conversations are had with peers – other people bereaved by suicide. Our support groups are facilitated by people who have been bereaved by suicide. The groups are open, meet fortnightly and are free of charge. You do not have to speak, there is healing in just being with those who understand your pain.
If you would like to come along to a HUGG group, just call us on 01 513 4048 (monitored answering machine) or email email@example.com for more information.
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Join the Grief Encounters Facebook Group,
A place for support, compassion and empathy for those grieving
Music by: Nctrnm
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