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Suicide awareness

For immediate support in an emergency please call 999. To access confidential emotional support for feelings of distress, despair or suicidal thoughts - Samaritans freephone 116 123 (24/7) or email jo@samaritans.org

Download our Sources of Support PDF for a list of support available across the UK.

Suicide is a sensitive subject that will affect people in different ways. We understand if you would prefer, for any reason, not to engage in content about this subject.

If you, like Jules, have been impacted by suicide loss and would like bereavement support, please reach out to Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide.

Martin served for 24 years in the Royal Military Police and the Intelligence Corps. He spoke fondly about his Army days to his friend Jules.

His life inspired Jules to become one of our volunteers. His death motivated her to share her story in support of our suicide awareness training.

Jules and Martin together before he lost his life to suicide
Jules and Martin - Help for Heroes

“I first met Martin when he moved nearby. He’d left the Army and was trying to make a fresh start with his life.

“The Army was Martin’s world, leaving it behind left a void. Because of this, he struggled with his mental health and had attempted suicide before, which he spoke freely about to me. I admired him for how open he was about it.

“I loved how down to earth he was. We had so much in common and were always laughing.

“Over the years, I noticed his moods could be up and down, from high and chatty, to quiet and negative. I always tried to support and listen to him.

“I encouraged him to go running, focussing on something else seemed to help. Sometimes we ran together, and being ex-Army Martin would always push me that little bit further, which I liked about him.

“Before he took his own life, Martin said ‘I really appreciate you being there for me Jules. I don’t have many people I trust, but you are one of three I can rely on.’

“Although it meant a lot to hear him say this, it also shook me.

Jules and Martin on a train on one of the last times she saw him
One of the last photos of Jules and Martin together - Help for Heroes

“Then, one day, Martin stopped letting me in. I could tell something wasn’t right, but if I pushed him to talk, he’d get angry, or say he was tired or busy.

“I didn't want him to shut me out, so I suggested counselling may help – as it had helped me. He agreed to try it and it seemed to help at first. Later he found it hard, but I encouraged him to keep going.

“I suggested he contact a military charity for support, but his response was ‘there are more worthy people than myself, I am one of the lucky ones.’

“He was so wrong; he was worthy but didn’t want to take the help away from someone else.

“During this time, he was living alone, doing long shifts at work, and felt lonely. His health also declined. He was constantly ill and wasn’t eating properly. But he put that down to his shifts.

“One weekend I visited him to celebrate his birthday. When I arrived, there was a police officer at his door. A friend had reported they were concerned about him.

Jules sits on a coach telling her story about Martin's suicide
Jules tells her story about losing her friend Martin - Help for Heroes

“The police spoke to us both and I agreed to stay with him and encourage him to see a doctor. He kept refusing and saying it was a fuss about nothing, he was just a bit low.

“When the police called us both later to check on Martin, he became agitated. I managed to calm him and eventually encouraged him to speak to someone.

“I was with him while he got a mental health assessment at his flat. During this, Martin revealed he was planning to take his own life.

“It was a shock to hear him admit this. But I was also relieved he’d found the bravery to get help.

“He agreed to voluntarily section himself and I made sure he arrived at hospital safely.

“As I left, I promised him I’d be on the phone to support him and would be there when he came out.

I hugged and waved him goodbye. That was the last day I saw him."


Martin's friend

“Whilst he was in hospital, he texted saying he was going to leave. I encouraged him to stay, which he did that night. Unbeknownst to me, he insisted on leaving the next day.

“When the police called asking if I knew where he was, I had a sinking feeling. I tried to contact him and left texts and voice messages.

“The hours dragged by as I waited for news or a response back from the police. While I waited, I knew he had gone. I just had a feeling deep inside.

“My fears became reality, when he was found to have taken his own life in the early hours of the morning.

“It was the worst day of my life and something I will never get over, losing someone to suicide.

“At first, I didn’t cope. I felt so many emotions, hurt, anger and sorrow.  Blaming myself that I could have done more. But most of all, why did he take his own life? Why?

Grief is a slow process. But fundraising and volunteering helped me."


Martin's friend

“After Martin’s death, I went to stay with family, just to get away. My cousin bought me a sky dive experience, with a card saying, ‘Jules you need to scream everything out on the way down’.

“Jumping out of the plane terrified me but as Martin was a big supporter of Help for Heroes, I decided to jump in his memory, as a fundraiser for the Charity.

“I then decided to become a volunteer to help others like Martin and have learnt so much in the process.

“I've held my own fundraising events and taken on many challenges in memory of Martin. These included, cycling the Big Battlefield Bike Ride, trekking the Yorkshire Three Peaks, a Cambodia trek and Ben Nevis climb. Through these experiences, I've met so many veterans and their families.

Jules models one of our suicide awareness t-shirts
Jules is a big supporter of our Suicide Awareness project and models one of our t-shirts to raise funds for the campaign - Help for Heroes

“It’s humbling to hear their stories and inspiring to see how, thanks to getting the right support from the Charity, their lives have been turned around.

“These stories give hope to others, show that it's ok not to be ok, and that you can ask for help.

“I also support the Charity’s online suicide awareness training, which helps people feel more comfortable having what could be a life-saving conversation. 

“I often think if Martin had reached out to Help for Heroes for support it could have helped him.

“Please take the training, it could help you save a life.”

Join our mission to create suicide safer communities for veterans.