My name is Ken, the founder of The Hermes Project. But before that, before the project was even a thought, I was Ken, the guy who’s dad took his own life.
When I was just 15 years old, my dad, of whom I’m named after, tragically took his own life. He had been suffering from clinical depression for a number of years, and a recent redundancy followed by difficulties in employment couldn’t have helped, but suicide seemed a million miles away.
To be perfectly honest, I didn’t know what depression or suicide were. My dad always said that suicide was the cowards way out, so how could he have found himself in that position?
Sadly, it’s become apparent throughout the last 14 years, that men do not talk about how they feel, at least not as often or as openly as they should. Perhaps if my dad had someone to talk to, he wouldn’t have had such a tragic full stop to his story.
I was 15, chasing girls, sneaking beers and aiming high in my aspirations to become a famous musician. I was about to sit my GCSE exams and get ready to head off to college – an adult. My entire world came to an abrupt halt the morning of the 9th February 2006. As the policeman explained to me what had happened, I realised that I had lost my father, my best friend and my confidant forever. Only the night before we were singing and smoking together, how could this be?
Naturally I was incredibly angry at the world, and wanted to fight with every one in plain sight. As I went through the motions, I became very self destructive. What I needed was intervention, specific intervention. You see, Suicide really is the rawest form of grief. There are no answers, but millions of questions. No doctor, psychologist or coroner can explain WHY they did what they did, nor exactly what state of mind they were in.
Intervention isn’t something that came, though.
My school looked at help, and I was offered support from a cancer hospice. Although grateful to be offered some help, the lady seemed unsympathetic to the cause of death and to me, was completely un relatable. Next, came advice from the teenagers job seekers service. The lady was amazing and really honed in on my love of music, taking me away from school to learn how to “DJ” during school time. My school, however, weren’t as keen on me missing classes.
What I needed, wasn’t time away from school, and it wasn’t untrained and unsympathetic support workers. What I needed was a mentor, Somebody that had been through the hardship I went through. Somebody that could explain the feelings that I felt, normalise them and help me build new foundations to continue my life.
“Be who you needed when you were younger”.
That is my mantra. That is why The Hermes Project was born.
The Hermes Project is a start up Community Interest Company (C.I.C) and has been set up with the sole purpose of providing support to children that have been bereaved by suicide.
Through crowd funding, I have been able to begin the journey of training towards being accredited to offer this support myself.
Can you help? Please get in touch at: [email protected]