Rachel Devereux's story: 

Rachel Devereux.jpg
Champion: Rachel Devereux
Picture credit: John Steel

I am a perinatal mental health peer supporter, mother-of-four and founder of Parent Sanctuary CIC.

As a perinatal mental health peer support, I've witnessed firsthand the challenges that families face and I am deeply committed to supporting their physical and mental well-being. My role involves helping individuals build confidence, calm and connection within their families, community and nature. 

Recognising that those who don't engage with our services might be the ones who need it most, I am eager to leverage this campaign's training to reach more vulnerable people who may be considering suicide. My goal is to create a sense of belonging and reduce the feelings of loneliness and helplessness. 

Our service is for all parents of those under five; we do not need to know or screen people's mental health to access us and they don't need to divulge their thoughts, feelings or diagnoses. But if they do, we want to be prepared to support and signpost effectively. We know poor mental health does not discriminate and that time, together with supportive peers, is both preventative and restorative to mental ill-health and low mood. 

On a personal note, I refer to my motherhood experience as a safari without a jeep. There have been highs and lows and thoughts that have crossed my mind at how I could stop the noise by ending it all (suicide).

My thoughts have been fleeting, passing with another brighter, happier thought replacing them, showing me just how wonderful family life is. 

Without me, my family would be worse off, not better. The people left behind are in much more pain and for far longer than I was in that passing moment. 

I think of myself as reslient and strong. having some good support networks for people I can turn to. I keep those thoughts silent within me. It's hard to admit now that I had them. But for people who may be having thoughts about suicide now, sharing this might spark an insight that these thoughts might pop into other people's heads too.

If they are worried or if thoughts persist, then talking to someone is a good place to start. Admitting that you are struggling opens the door to help because if no-one knows, the rest of the world might continue to think you're ok. 

Pledge: Parent Sanctuary CIC is dedicated to training all our staff and volunteers as Suicide Prevention Champions. We commit to sharing resources openly and building a culture where dicussing suicide is not taboo. We aim to provide a listening space, without judgement. If anyone tells us they are suicidal, to ask what the person needs in order to get the support from professionals. 

I wholeheartedly support this campaign's mission and I'm excited about the potential impact we can collectively make.