A common misconception is that people who die of suicide are miserable, sad, and governed by depression.

But the reality couldn’t be further from the truth.

“My brother was always laughing, he was always cracking jokes and he was always the life and soul of the party,” said Sian Retter.

“And sadly this is often the case. Suicide doesn’t always look suicidal; in fact, it can look the complete opposite.”

In November 2018, Sian’s brother, Steffan Rees, took his own life.

Four years later, his family are still desperately trying to come to terms with their loss.

“No one will ever know how it feels to deal with the suicide of a person who means so very much to you, and this was what I was finding so difficult to accept,” Sian explains.

“The nearest peer support group that I could find from my home near Cardigan was in Cardiff, so this was why I decided to do everything I could to set up a group locally.”

Sian joined forces with two other women, Ana and Lisa, who had both lost their husbands to suicide at very young ages.  Together, they set up Living in Suicide’s Shadow West Wales (LiSS).

Tivyside Advertiser: Lisa, with her husband Peter, aged 58Lisa, with her husband Peter, aged 58


The group meets at 7pm on the first Tuesday of every month in Carmarthen Leisure Centre and then on alternative months, they hold group walks in either Pembrokeshire or Ceredigion.

“The fact that there are people here who we can relate to, who have gone through similar experiences and who can understand how we’re feeling is a tremendous support,” said Sian.

“Even though the general perception of mental health has improved considerably and people are now able to talk about mental health issues much more openly, suicide continues to be a taboo subject.

"But when you consider that one in ten people who are bereaved as a result of suicide end up taking their own lives, it’s imperative that they get an opportunity to share and listen to others.”

The latest figures show that 125 people a week are currently taking their own lives in the UK.

Tivyside Advertiser: Ana, with her husband Lee, died aged 41Ana, with her husband Lee, died aged 41

“This is why we want people to know that LiSS is here, serving the three counties of Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire and that we can offer whatever support possible, to anyone who is having to deal with a suicide bereavement," said Sian.

"And if they don’t want to come along to a meeting or join us on a walk, we’re more than happy to meet them for a coffee or just have a chat.”

If anyone would like to find out more about LiSS, they can do so via the Facebook page LISS - Living in Suicide Shadow - West Wales  or via the website, LiSSlistens.org