My son was 38 years of age when one day he bought two cans of kerosene, went underneath a bridge, consumed tranquillisers then set fire to himself.

He was suffering from schizophrenia and manic depression since he was 18 years of age. He had been suicidal for a number of years in and out of hospital mental health units.

Because of his age I was never allowed to be involved in his treatment. I was in a helpless situation. The pain and anguish I suffered seeing my son deteriorate and there was nothing I could do. My heart was breaking. There was no support for me or any understanding to help me cope with what I was going through.

My son had anger and aggression attacks where I became frightened of him. I started to feel ashamed of myself for having these feeling as I knew deep down he would never harm me, but I was still frightened. The worst part was that I was on my own constantly with his problem and I had no one to talk to. I took the brunt of these attacks and I was always walking on thin ice with him. I had to be careful in everything I said and did in case it was something I said or did that would set him off.

I desperately tried to help him. The lack of communication in not involving me his mother and the rest of the family is inexcusable. I will never understand the logic of the hospitals and psychiatrists. Nobody new my son like I did. I loved him.

Then one dreaded day I received a phone call.

Your son is——————– I cried and cried and cried and I am still crying.