A YOUNG Enniskillen woman who lost her beloved partner through suicide is on a mission to help others who have suffered the same pain by offering them a chance to get some time to themselves, and is hoping for local support to do so.
Louise Boyle is currently in the process of setting up a charity, Michael’s Hope Haven, in memory of her partner Michael Doherty, who died in July last year aged just 23. She is now fundraising to pay for a £40,000 caravan at Castle Archdale, which will offer grieving loved ones the opportunity to get some quiet time to themselves.
Louise is also currently lobbying politicians at Stormont to have stress and mental health resilience education included on the school curriculum, at the All Party Group (APG) on Suicide Prevention in Stormont next week, in a bid to prevent more people suffering that pain in future.
Speaking to the Herald about her logic behind the caravan retreat, Louise said the idea had come from her own experience of grief from suicide.
“I would have loved to get away just to get out of the house, and at the same time, because I didn’t want to face anybody,” she said. “Going to a hotel was not an option because you’re guaranteed you’re going to see someone in a hotel.
“If I had have been able to get away, then that would have been brilliant.”
Louise added the pain of losing a loved one to suicide was different from other forms of grief, and said the caravan would give those grieving the chance to be alone with their thoughts and process their pain.
“A bereavement by suicide is completely different to anything else,” she said. “I had no idea before, and I probably thought that I had an idea before, but I didn’t.
“I lost my granny six years now in February, and that woman was my whole entire world/ I thought, I’ve done this, I’ve been through this. It was totally different, and it’s not that my love for granny was any less than Michael, it’s just a completely different way.
“I can take peace from the fact granny is not in any more pain, whereas I have no peace with Michael because there was nothing.”
As well as the caravan retreat, Louise is preparing to address politicians from across the political spectrum, as well as mental health charities, at a Stormont next week where she will call on the APG to seriously consider including stress resilience and coping mechanisms on the school curriculum.
Louise, who said she had approached several local representatives and only MLA Jemma Dolan had taken it on board and “got the ball rolling”, explained that for many people, stress was a major factor in death by suicide. She believes if people are taught better stress coping mechanisms at a young age, more suicides could be prevented.
“I’ll be talking about Michael and the fact Michael didn’t have any mental health issues,” she said. “I know people probably look at me and think he must have had some sort of issues, but the whole point of me doing this is to show it literally is just a moment of crisis.”
To help support Michael’s Hope Haven visit the page on Facebook or search for the fundraiser on justgiving.com. Any local business who want to sponsor the project can also get in touch via the Facebook page, while those wanting to raise money can take part in the Michael’s Hope Haven Christmas Jumper Day on December 17.
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