Radio star reveals impact of partner's suicide on family
Amy Irons has spoken out after her boyfriend took his own life less than eight weeks ago.
Radio presenter Amy Irons says more needs to be done to help the families of those who take their own lives.
The 27-year-old's boyfriend, Wayne Ewer, was found injured in the couple's Glasgow apartment less than eight weeks ago.
The 34-year-old was rushed to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, but died four days later.
Speaking to STV News, Amy spoke of the devastation she felt and how there needs to be more done to support the families of those who take their own lives.
"From the moment I lost Wayne it was just pain like nobody could ever sum up," she said.
"It's a situation that you never think you'll find yourself in, and I just felt utterly helpless.
"You have all the pain that you would have when you lose somebody in a 'normal' way, but you have all these emotions - confusion, guilt, regret - that you don't know how to handle."
Amy has openly spoken about how she struggled with her own mental health in the following weeks after her partner's death, saying the aftermath was "just horrendous".
"I've spoken quite openly that I have really struggled in the few weeks afterwards - I had some terrible thoughts," she continued.
'You feel guilty, you feel have I in some way been responsible? Could I have prevented this?'Amy Irons
"You feel guilty, you feel have I in some way been responsible? Could I have prevented this?
"I questioned my purpose - why am I here, why do I get to still be around?
"I can't lie about that, I can't hide the fact that I have struggled with my own mental health, but I know that by talking about it I've already made leaps and bounds in my recovery because I have such a good supportive network round me."
This comes as the Scottish Government launched a new plan aiming to reduce the country's suicide rate by 20% by 2022.
The ten measures planned include training on suicide prevention for all NHS staff, reviewing all deaths by suicide and new awareness campaigns.
In the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, Amy said nobody offered her mental health support, and that she had to proactively search herself.
"I don't want to criticise, I know there is a lot of good work being done and the charity that I'm getting counselling through now is remarkable, but in that immediate aftermath there was nobody.
"I was given all the information required about organ donation and I was kept in the loop about the amount of people that Wayne had helped, even when it came to funeral arrangements I had somebody there to help me through that process.
"But at no point in the immediate aftermath was there somebody saying 'here's a leaflet with information' or 'here's someone you can call on for help'.
When she recognised that she was not coping with her grief she sought out help, but was knocked back.
"When I did go to seek out the counselling I was told it was too early, and that they wouldn't recommend going for counselling until eight weeks after.
"In my opinion, those first eight weeks are absolutely crucial because in those eight weeks the waves of emotion that you go through when you lose somebody through suicide are immense."
'So many people are affected, and if their mental health isn't prioritised they're just going to become another statistic.'Amy Irons
While Amy agrees that suicide prevention is a hugely important campaign, she also believes helping those close to people who take their own lives is equally important.
"Getting the support right for people who have been bereaved through suicide needs to be as important as the prevention, because two people a day in Scotland take their own life, but think of the ripple effect and how many people are affected in the immediate circle and then out with that.
"So many people are affected, and if their mental health isn't prioritised they're just going to become another statistic."
A recent study found one in nine young adults in Scotland has attempted suicide.
Launching the government's plan, mental health minister Clare Haughey said: "Every life matters and no death by suicide should be regarded as either acceptable or inevitable.
"Over the past decade, Scotland has made real progress in reducing deaths by suicide but we have far more to do.
"We want a Scotland where suicide is preventable, and where anyone contemplating suicide or who has lost a loved one gets the support they need."
Amy hopes that one day, the word "suicidal" will be as un-taboo as "cancer".
"Years ago, cancer was treated like the big C, something nobody could say.
"All I want is for one day suicide to be where cancer is now, to be able to go into work and talk to your friends family and say 'I've been feeling suicidal. I've had some terrible dark thoughts - can you help?'
"Until we get to that stage, there will always be more people that slip through the net and don't get more help."