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'Life After Suicide'

Thursday, 18 February 2016 Angela Samata

Angela Samata blogs about the response to her Mind Media award winning documentary, 'Life After Suicide', which aired on BBC One last night.

Angela is an Arts Professional and Merseyside Woman Of The Year 2015. She tweets at @AngelaSamata

It’s such a very strange feeling seeing your name in the Radio Times. It’s the type of thing that my Grandma would have been incredibly proud of. I can imagine her excitedly buying extra copies to pass around the family. She would also have to explain, however, that my name is there because I chose to share a painful story; to revisit the time in my life that was by far the hardest for us all.

"The BBC 1 announcer has just said that our film will be on next. GULP!"

Tonight our film “Life After Suicide’ is on BBC 1 as part of the BBC’s Mental Health season #InTheMind. It’s the second time it’s been shown by the BBC in less than a year, and a few people have asked me if I’ll be watching tonight…I’m not sure I will yet. Part of me wants to see our film again because I’m proud of it and more importantly, I’m proud of the team who made it and of all the people who allowed me to interview them, who gave their time and who talked to me so generously about their experiences. It’s the same pride that I felt when we were awarded the Best Factual Documentary 2015 by Mind. I couldn’t believe that David Robb was standing on stage saying our name and that Jo Brand was handing us that beautiful silver award! To have Mind, a charity whose work I’ve admired for years and that I’m proud to be associated with, endorsing our film! I’m not sure it gets any better than that.

"I remember Mark and his smile and his laugh and all the things that I miss, that our boys miss, that we all miss."

The BBC 1 announcer has just said that our film will be on next. GULP! It looks like I’m going to watch it. The nerves are there now. Twitter is telling me that lots of people will be watching it and as I write this I’m hoping that some of those people find our film useful…but that feels like the wrong word. Do I mean helpful? Is that right? I know that when Mark took his life, I didn’t know anyone who had been bereaved in that way before. When I did meet others in the Survivors of Bereavement By Suicide support group shown in the film tonight, a wave of relief came over me because all of a sudden it wasn’t just me, us, my family, Mark’s family, all our friends who were trying to navigate our way through this. There were thousands of other people like us too! I think that’s why I said yes to making the film-because I just wanted other people to know that they’re not alone either.

"If just one person reaches out for support... it’s been worth it."

It’s tricky. I can hear myself describing those early days of confusion and shock and I remember Mark and his smile and his laugh and all the things that I miss, that our boys miss, that we all miss, but I can also see my phone flashing almost continuously now with messages of support and acknowledgement of shared experience…and that’s why it’s tricky. It’s like putting pressure on a broken heart all over again. Then I get another message. Even now I’m getting tweets that are telling me that people are relieved that I’ve shared my story because it has allowed them to share theirs.

Was it worth going back to those painful early days to make the film? I always said that if sharing our story helps one person, then it’s all been worth it. If it reminds people that there are real lives behind the data, then it’s been worth it. If it challenges the stigma that many of us have felt, it’s been worth it and If just one person reaches out for support after watching Life After Suicide, it’s been worth it. I think I have my answer.

 

Watch 'Life After Suicide' on BBC iPlayer. Please remember to take care if you think it might be triggering.

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