Each week 125 people are lost to suicide. 75% of those people are male. Seven years ago one of those people was my brother.
Writing that is hard. Reading that is hard. Trying to hang on when everything or nothing is overwhelming is even harder.
Until we can all talk about suicide, and the thoughts, feelings and situations that lead us there, these statistics will continue.
The reasons for writing Dust are complicated, as you can imagine. Ultimately I want to make a difference and the best way to do this is to use my words to raise some money, as well as to promote honet communication about suicide.
Why raise money for CALM?
There are many charities that support people living with mental health conditions and many charities that offer a safe space to talk. What is different about CALM is it’s full on confrontation of the fact that something is going wrong for people, and many of those people are men. They choose a deliberately bold language, and deliberately bold identity. The aim is to challenge the stereotypes that put people in a place of feeling that not only is there nowhere to turn, but they shouldn’t need help in the first place.
On a practical level CALM offer a helpline for people who are at crisis point. On a wider scale, they seek to enact real cultural change. Above all, they seek to create a world where being honest about feeling horrific isn’t seen as weakness.
Why raise money for SOBS?
I’d never heard of SOBS. You may not have either. They’re a charity that exist solely to support Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide. They were a small light in the first bewildering days of grief. They offer an astonishing range of well curated resources to support people who find themselves standing open handed wondering why, what, how
Why write a poetry book to raise money?
Indeed. Why not just run or bake cakes or climb a mountain? The truth is the root of this project is more than just fundraising. Writing is my way of dealing with this loss, and the notes I poured out when Ian first died are the backbone of these poems.
Grief is something we all experience and while no-one’s grief is the same, the complications of grief from suicide are well documented. If just one person reads the poems in this book and feels less alone, then they have done their job. Being able to raise money to support others in similar situations to either Ian or myself make the project feel more worthwhile. A tiny way to change the world. Even if it’s just for one person.
How can I help ?
Fashioning something good from something so terrible is the definition of hope I suppose and support is everything for a project like this. Knowing other people care and have my back is everything. Knowing we can help create something that is beautiful is good. Knowing that the money raised could change things for others is the most important thing. You can pre-order a copy of Dust using the button below.
I am so grateful to everyone who has supported this project so far, includng Raven Studios who’s bursary back in 2021 allowed me to take a little time away from my paid work to work on this project. Time and energy are fickle beasts and the luxury of being able to focus on writing was a real gift. The bursary also enabled me to commission editing services from Olivia Tuck who helped polish these poems this into something I am proud of.
Thank you, as ever for reading