A little bit of light and hope

My Penumbra journey began back in the summer of 2021, when I started as a Practitioner within our Suicide Bereavement Support Service.

A few years ago I was bereaved by suicide. I recall someone comparing it to a bomb going off in your life and this is exactly how it felt. I was fortunate enough to have great support from my family and friends – something I will be eternally grateful for. Though, at times I did feel very alone, and I could never shake the feeling that no-one truly understood what I was going through. The stigma of losing someone to suicide and the expectations that followed were unbearable and as a result my mental health suffered tremendously.

When I saw the job advert for the Practitioner role I thought, great, finally somewhere that tailors its service to the specific needs of the person and crucially, those bereaved by suicide. I wish I’d known about Penumbra when I was battling my own mental ill health.

I have been truly honoured to support people through their darkest times and help instil a little bit of light in their journey. 

I have been truly honoured to support people through their darkest times and help instil a little bit of light and hope into their journey, to make sure they know they’re not alone.

I’m sure I am not the first, nor will I be the last to say, that every single day I am inspired by Penumbra and amazed at the people who encompass our service, from their compassion to their dedication and enthusiasm, all working together to advocate for better mental health.

On my first day I was given a quote by Seamus Heaney, “Hope is not optimism which expects things to turn out well, but something rooted in the conviction that there is good worth working for.” As I think back to my first day I smile, this is where I’m meant to be!

Huge thanks to Gillian for sharing your story with us! 

Gillian is the Assistant Service Manager of her service. Find out more about the service here: Suicide Bereavement Support Service – Penumbra

If you’re interested in joining Penumbra, visit our careers hub: penumbra.org.uk/careers.

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