Grantham mental health group created in memory of late relative
A Grantham mental health nurse has established a group to combat suicide following her own personal experiences.
Emma Bradley, who has worked as a mental health nurse for the last eight years, has created ‘Antony’s Group’, a safe space not only for people having suicidal thoughts, but the families, friends and carers of those suffering with mental health problems.
Currently working for the LFPT Trust at the Sycamore Centre in Grantham, Emma started the group in memory of her cousin Antony, aged 41, who tragically took his own life on New Year’s Eve 2020.
Emma had similar experiences with her own son, after he was medically discharged from the army in 2016 and battled with his mental health and suicidal thoughts for two years.
Emma said: “For him, it was like someone had turned off a light.
“You would think that as a mental health nurse it would have been easier. Let me tell you, it wasn’t. Seeing someone that you love and care about so completely broken and wanting to die is the most devastating and all-encompassing feeling in the world.
“Trying to support him to recover has been, so far, the most difficult and stressful experience and challenge I have had to face.”
His journey involved various medications, hours spent sat in A&E, hospital admissions, police intervention and involvement.
Emma said: “For me, it involved sleepless nights, many tears shed, mental torment and physical exhaustion, the not knowing and the what ifs, constant checking my phone to see if his status showed him as having been recently active. I really did believe that I would lose him and find him dead one day.”
Now, after getting the help that he needed and finally opening up to a male healthcare support worker, Emma’s son lives with his girlfriend of 18 months. He has a dog, is off all of his medication, exercises, and is in full time employment, with the aim of starting his own business later this year.
Emma said: “He is strong and above all happy to be alive, and believes in himself and sees a bright future ahead. He loves, and is loved. I shared every step of his long recovery journey with him and it’s brought us much closer together. He’s an inspiration to me and I’m so proud of him.”
Emma is hoping to launch a Facebook group soon, which will offer a safe and supportive space for anyone suffering with mental health, and signpost them to the relevant services.
The group’s current aim is to host one virtual meeting per week, possibly more, depending on demand.
Emma said that during these virtual meetings, “we will not be working as counsellors as it is not counselling, but a volunteer’s role is to only listen, offer empathy, to be non-judgemental, and sign post to professionals if necessary and with consent.
“We cannot save people, we can only support people to try and save themselves. We will contact the police if someone poses an imminent risk to themselves.”
Emma decided to make Antony’s Group private and independent, as she felt it would be easier, with less bureaucracy. She has therefore launched a fund-raiser to cover the cost of a Microsoft Teams (or similar) subscription. To donate, visit: https://gofund.me/2746ebf8
Emma continued: “We have had a great and overwhelming response for volunteers and IT equipment and I thank every one of you from the bottom of my heart.”
Although the Facebook group is not yet live, you can still get in contact with the group by emailing: email@example.com