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The Face Of Suicide

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On the 7th January 2016 we lost our 19yr young son Johnathon McHale to suicide. Just 4 days earlier our family life was normal and he appeared happy with his 6 year relationship, his new job and his life. However that all changed when he received a text from someone who informed Johnathon his girlfriend had been cheating on him over the Christmas period. He was absolutely devastated, angry, upset, betrayed and we felt the same. In rage he accidentally broke his cherished Xbox which upset him further as he had just purchased it at Christmas. "Can things get any worse he cried, I've been a fool". I remember the time when they thought she was pregnant and he was overjoyed to think he would be a Dad. I remember asking him in November if she was the one and would he marry her to which he replied "bit early Dad but probably yes".
We offered Johnathon support and we would help him rebuild if he wanted too, we were worried and said she could move back home in a few months if he wanted her too, but they needed time. We were angry she had hurt our son and we needed time too. We know that over the next few days he tried to rescue his relationship offering forgiveness and to take her back. She said in messages she was confused as she still loved him. Our son was also supporting a friend who was going through something similar and he was telling her it would be OK and life would get better for her. Our son was such a loving caring young man.

What none of us expected was to then lose our only boy just 4 days later from a bridge over the M1 motorway. The M1 is situated just minutes from our home and yards from a hotel he had earlier seen his girlfriend going into with an engaged man of 31 with children of his own. It's OK  to move on but to rub it in without thought is unacceptable. This guy knew our son but later denied it. Sadly we are becoming a world of self interest at the expense of others and the rise in homelessness and suicides is testament to that.

Life can change in an instant and for our son it did when that text came through. One moment his life was full, the next it was gone and ours along with it. His friends who had just dropped him off home that  evening thought they were the last to see him, but in fact his mother was.  My wife saw nothing strange in him as he sat for a moment and talked about what was on TV,  he then said he would make something to eat. BUT 20 minutes later our son was dead his body mutilated beyond all recongnition, torn apart and spread over 3 lanes of the M1 by drivers who failed to stop but instead choose initially to drive around his lifeless body or drive over him and continue on their journey, some with part of his body still attached to their vehicles. How someone can't tell the difference between a 5'8" person and bag of cement is beyond belief but that was one of the statements given.

To say that my wife and I are traumatised by what happened to our baby boy is an understatement. To only have his arm to visit and touch is criminal and beyond anything a parent should endure but that was our reality. Some of the professional who dealt with our sons body and our family after the aftermath are hero's to us. However there are concerns too about how things failed. A national and local newspaper exploited us and help damage our livelihood by naming our business and taking images and text from our Facebook page. It is criminal that a lorry driver with video footage of our son (which we have seen) can be withheld from us. It is criminal that video cameras located in the area were not checked until 4 months later once wiped. It is criminal that key witnesses were told to go home without ever being interviewed. It is criminal that Apple, Microsoft, Tesco all refused to help us regarding our son's last images amongst other things.

But more importantly over the course of 3 years it has become very clear to us that there are substantial failings in mental help support and the shear lack of understanding about suicide. Not only the affects it has on the minds of the individual but also on the devastating affects on those left behind. People are dying whilst under care and we had to fight for 2 years to get any help. Only because of my wife also being diagnosed with invasive breast cancer did things change slightly but not in the mental health devision.

My wife and I have been fighting this system whilst she goes through cancer treatment diagnosed shortly after losing our son. During this time we have met, spoken to online, and shared with many families who have lost children too and dealing with the after affects of suicide. We are thankful that what we are trying to do has already saved lives and we thank those who have told us so in private messages.

My wife and I are on our knees, we are not and never will be the confident, outgoing, motivated, happy people we once were. Our future expectations in seeing our son married and having children along with carrying on our family name and tradition has ended. Our son has missed so much. Johnathon would have been an uncle to 2 baby girls, he would have learnt to drive, he would have been here for his mum through her cancer, and he would have found new love and someone who cared for him.

Deb and I are trying to get through day by day, every day is a challenge to even get out of bed and Deb is still quite ill, physically and mentally. However through our facebook page and website we want to bring awareness to the many about suicide. Not the media hype every now and then, or the talk but no action by the government. We want to share our experience and let others have a voice too through our portal The Face of Suicide.  

We want to stop suicides.  We never knew the signs of depression, we never knew the health system, and suicide was something we ever thought would touch our family. But it has, and in a short time we have experienced the rollercoaster from our own suicidal thoughts, our own deep depression and the devastating consequences it has on those left behind. Like many of the bereaved families we have more insight than any professional will ever have because we have the raw emotions not just the text or mask being worn of the person in front of them. We know what is behind the mask, we survivors wear it every day and many of you will understand that.

In order to reach as many people as possible and sustain the Facebook reach, the website pages, and bring more awareness in what we are doing we need support. To date we have used what little we have to fund other organisations and donate to them as we will continue to do. But Facebook costs as do web presence, we all know how costly that can be just to tell your story. Even raising funds here costs money, there's always someone somewhere making money out of misery hence the rise in suicides. 

If your still reading,  it has been difficult for us to set this gofundme page up as we are individuals who never like to ask and always pay our way through hard work and determination. But we now need your support and hope you can help us by donating to our cause. We want to share as much about suicide as we can and continue to help others understand what they are going through. We want to reach as many people as we can and that takes time, effort and money, suicide is a worldwide problem and biggest killer of young men and as many women attempt it. Hearing through our site that children as young as 8yrs young are being taken by suicide is a huge failing in our world.

There is no minimum or limit to what we hope to raise, every penny will go to expanding our reach and commitment to saving lives. By donating you will help save a lives and bring understanding to the many. Many families like ours are suffering but we are fighting just like them. Please help us.

For some of us we have already lost and we live with the loss and trauma of suicide every day. Suicide is unlike any other loss and carries so many unanswered questions, guilt and emptiness. Let us all do our bit in saving others from the same pain.

Thank YOU!!! xxx

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You can also find resources and post your story direct on our website at:

If you have lost someone to suicide and would like to take part in our The Face of Suicide project then do please get in touch through either of the above portals.


John McHale

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