Monday, December 23, 2019

Grieving mum sobbed as she decorating Xmas tree with baubles made by dead son

A grieving mum found herself "sobbing her heart out" as she hung baubles made by her teenage son in the first Christmas since his suicide.

Lizzi Stuart visits her 17-year-old son Lee's graveside twice a day to switch on and off Christmas lights she's decorated it with.

She said her son loved the festive period and would fight with his younger brother Regan, 12, over who got to put the star on top of the tree, reports the Daily Record .

“This year has been so hard," said the brave mum from West Dubartonshire, Scotland.

"I put up the tree for Regan’s sake and I was sobbing my heart out putting baubles up which Lee had made at primary school.”

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Lizzi said Lee showed no warning signs before taking his own life in May and now she is campaigning for schools to do more to educate youngsters about mental health.

“There’s been too many young suicides in this area and people are too scared to talk about it.

“The problem is that young people find themselves having dark thoughts and don’t know how to deal with it,” she said.

Over the last month, Lizzi has held meetings with West Dunbartonshire Council bosses in her campaign to stamp out young suicide.

And in 2020 wants to discuss what more can be done in schools with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Lee had been training to be a mechanic at West College Scotland and his mum wants to do everything she can to prevent him from becoming a "statistic".

“I don’t want Lee to be a statistic. I will do everything I can to push for more education in schools locally," she said.

The number of suicides in West Dunbartonshire doubled in a year while national figures showed rates among youths in 2018 were at their highest in 11 years.

Lizzi is also raising money for charity Back on Side as part of her campaign, with the organisation saying no-one should be left alone in battling mental health issues.

It aims to promote self-confidence via programmes and workshops which focus on sport, music, drama and art.

The group also visits schools and trains teachers and Lizzi wants it to come to her area because there's "nothing like that here".

“They are people teenagers look up to and they tell them ‘it’s okay to not be okay, here’s what to do if you feel this way’," she said.

Group manager Libby Emmerson, said she hopes West Dunbartonshire Council will use their services so they can begin working with local schools.

A council spokeswoman said they are committed to doing everything they can to prevent suicide while recognising there is no single solution.

She said: “Our strategy for teaching and supporting positive mental health and wellbeing for school pupils is far reaching and an integral part of the curriculum for three to 18 year olds."

Next year, Lee’s family and friends are taking part in a number of fundraising events, including a firewalk, boxing night, football match, the Kiltwalk in April, a ball and a comedy night called ‘Laugh for Lee’.

Lizzi added: “It’s heartbreaking every time we hear of another family just starting this journey.

“We don’t want others to go through this pain. Nobody can help us now but we can try and help make a difference for others.”

For confidential support the Samaritans can be contacted for free around the clock 365 days a year on 116 123.

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