Sue’s mission to help suicide families cope

Sue Hetherington
Sue Hetherington

Sue Hetherington and her husband Andrew were first on the scene when her beloved brother John committed suicide.

After the tragedy three years ago Sue knew that she had to seek support and in her grief contacted the charity SOBS.

SOBS, or Survivors Of Bereavement by Suicide is a free group, where people who have been affected by a loved one 
taking their own life can talk about it among people who have been through the same thing.

Sue said: “I don’t think there is ever one reason for it (suicide).

“It’s a combination of things that make you feel like the world has fallen in.

“It’s like an old fruit machine and there’s all these different reels for work, relationships, and mental health.

“Then one day all the lemons just line up.”

She added: “When it 
happened I felt complete disbelief, if anyone had said to me that one day we were going to go and find my brother dead I would have gone out of my mind.

“I became an unwilling member of an exclusive club that I never wanted to join.”

After attending session in Beaconsfield, Sue, who lives in Wendover, decided that she wanted to help others by leading a SOBs group in Aylesbury.

Buckinghamshire now has two groups, which meet up in High Wycombe and Aylesbury.

Sue, who gave up her job after John died, said: “I know there are lots of people out there that have been affected.

“For every person that takes their life there are lots of people who are seriously affected.

“I have met people who have been bereaved but are not ready to become a member, but it helps them to know that it is there if they need it.

“Bereavement is isolating because its a taboo.

“People are very kind but they don’t know what to say. When people find out there is a place they can go and meet others in the same position it can lift a huge burden.”

Both of the Bucks SOBS groups offer a free and confidential monthly meeting, offering self-help rather than counselling.

And the charity recently gained its first ever patron, in the form of the Venerable 
William Noblett CBE, a chaplain to The Queen.

If you would like to contact SOBS or would like to volunteer to help at one of the groups, email or call 07890973751.