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VIDEO: Farm family speak out after loved one commits suicide

A farm family has shared their experience of how their world was “torn apart in an instant” when a loved one committed suicide. 

The family, who are based at in Scotland, have bravely decided to talk about what happened eight years ago in the short film, as part of the #KeepTalking campaign being run by RSABI, the charity which supports people in Scottish agriculture.

Robert, Arkley and his sister, Susan, discussed the devasting impact the death of their farming uncle, David Arkley, had on their family.

‘An eerie silence’

“That morning, I can still remember the day, still remember the sky, all the clouds, the shapes. We turned up at the farm and there was an eerie silence.” explained Alasdair, who also features in the video. 

“So, we looked about the sheds for him, there was no answer from his mobile, but quite often, if he was out on the bike, he never heard it anyway.”

“George, my brother-in-law, had a sick sense when he opened the door. I don’t know why but the kids were with him and I think it was the post or something, he saw the post still sitting there and he just, don’t know why, George doesn’t know why either, he sent the boys back to the car,” explained Robert.  

“And he went into the living room…David had taken his life. [I am] just gutted that he didn’t feel he could speak to any of us, whether it be his family or tight circle of friends.”

Speak out

Susan said the family’s very strong hope is that people watching the video and hearing their story will realise just how important it is to take time to talk and listen to others.

“It is hard for us as a family to understand why David didn’t talk to us about how he was feeling and we are sure if he had just spoken about how he was feeling, we would still have him with us.”

“So, we hope that by us all speaking about it as part of the RSABI campaign, we might encourage other people who might be feeling like he was, to find someone they can talk to.”

“There is always someone to talk to and if you don’t feel you can speak to a friend, neighbour or family member, please pick up the phone and speak with RSABI.” Susan concluded.

Adrenaline rush

“We are very pleased with the response we have had to the campaign so far and our thanks go to everyone who is supporting us to spread the word and encourage us all to #KeepTalking,” said Nina Clancy, chief executive of RSABI.

“With the adrenalin rush of spring work past, we are concerned that people working in agriculture may find themselves feeling more isolated in the coming weeks when they would usually be getting out to auction markets and agricultural shows around the country,” Clancy concluded.

Image source: RSABI Youtube [Main image: Robert Arkley, David’s nephew]

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