‘My brother was dying and I just couldn’t see it’

PUBLISHED: 17:12 08 September 2017 | UPDATED: 17:26 08 September 2017

ITV News presenter and reporter Sascha Williams. Photo: Mark Bullimore

ITV News presenter and reporter Sascha Williams. Photo: Mark Bullimore

Mark Bullimore

Looking back I think I can pinpoint the moment I should have known something was wrong.

Sascha Williams' brother, Chris, who took his own life. Photo: Sascha WilliamsSascha Williams' brother, Chris, who took his own life. Photo: Sascha Williams

It was 1998 and my spirited, fun and fiercely intelligent brother Chris stopped going to the cinema. It was a pleasure we’d both enjoyed since our parents took us and our older brother Matthew to see The NeverEnding Story in 1984.

But after our last trip, to see Bruce Willis save the day in Armageddon, he seemed disinterested. Distant.

I put it down to tiredness. Or perhaps a hangover. But it turns out my brother was dying and I just couldn’t see it.

Five weeks later he hanged himself.

He was 19.

The days that followed were a blur. As with the loss of any loved one, the pain was immeasurable.

But bereavement by suicide brings its own unique torture. We were sad and angry. But most of all we felt guilty that someone so close to us felt he couldn’t bear to live and we didn’t notice.

As if to compound our grief, friends stopped calling.

If my brother had died from a terminal illness, people no doubt would have been there to console us. But when a mental illness that takes a loved one, you feel alone.

There are awkward pauses as people try not to say the wrong thing.

To this day, if anyone asks about my siblings, a pang of dread hits my stomach, because I know the truth will probably make them squirm.

You see in the two decades since Chris died, there is still a taboo surrounding suicide and the mental health of those who see it as their only option. So often, the most vulnerable people feel they must hide their demons.

When Robin Williams took his own life three years ago the world was shocked that such a brilliant and successful individual would do such a thing.

But depression doesn’t discriminate. And we need people to feel they can talk openly about it mental health without fear of stigmatisation.

We must educate that it’s okay to ask for help.

Perhaps if my brother had been more open on that last cinema trip, we’d be planning our next outing now.

• If you need to talk, call Samaritans on 116 123 or email

• Suicide Prevention Day is on Sunday, September 10. For more information,

Other News

Yesterday, 23:30

The fire service drone has been used to help in the search of a missing person near Great Yarmouth.

Yesterday, 19:11

‘It’s just lucky no-one was hurt’ - that is the message after a bus shelter close to a pub in Caister was flattened by a lorry that had been turning around.

Yesterday, 14:03

A man who fought testicular cancer has walked a gruelling 60km with a ball and chain to demonstrate the mental strain of fighting the illness.

Yesterday, 17:34

People who have used mechanical diggers to take “significant” amounts of sand and relocate sea defence blocks on Hemsby beach have been ordered to stop.

Most Read

Wed, 12:29

Police are appealing for help to trace a woman following a theft in Great Yarmouth.

Read more
Tue, 13:10

The man who was killed in a fatal stabbing in Great Yarmouth has been named.

Read more
Norwich Magistrates Court
Thu, 14:16

A young girl left severely disabled after mistakes were made during her birth at a Norfolk hospital will receive an extra £600,000 in damages.

Read more
Wed, 12:20

Residents in Great Yarmouth will be able to enjoy having their favourite fast food orders delivered right to their doorstep thanks to a new delivery service.

Read more
Wed, 14:51

Homes are going up on a pub’s garden as it looks for ways to thrive.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 7°C

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the Great
Yarmouth Mercury

e-edition today


Newsletter Sign Up

Great Yarmouth Mercury weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy