The family want people to see the last photo of the 26-year-old before he took his own life

The family of a 26-year-old man who committed suicide wants the world to see the last photo taken before his untimely death.

The latest images captured of Steffan Rees do not show a man in crisis, but a man living his life to the fullest and creating precious memories with his loved ones.

In her latest photo, Steffan can be seen smiling as her baby niece sits on her shoulders and holds her hands during a family walk.

His sister Sian, from Cardigan, Wales, described her younger brother as ‘the life and soul of the party’ and someone who ‘lit up the room’ when he walked in, factors that made his suicide all the more shocking.

SMOOTH

Sian said, “I couldn’t have asked for a better brother. He was only twenty-six, had a loving family, a beautiful girlfriend, and said nothing about having mental health issues.

Sian then channeled her grief into helping others and, with the help of widows Lisa and Ana, who also lost their husbands to suicide, has since started the Living in Suicide’s Shadow (LISS) support group.

The organization provides support for people bereaved by suicide in West Wales, whether through face-to-face or virtual encounters, walks and family activities.

Ana, whose husband Lee tragically took his own life, said of LISS: “Things have changed a lot over the past few years, but there is still a lot of stigma around suicide.

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“People would say things like he’s your husband, you live with him, how didn’t you see him, some people blame you, some don’t know what to say.”

Living in Suicide’s Shadow recently took part in The Last Photo on London’s Southbank, an exhibition featuring around 50 smiling photos taken in the last days of people who died by suicide.

Lisa, who lost her husband Peter, admitted she was ‘very nervous’ about traveling to London to see the exhibition, but pulled through with the support of Ana and Sian , with whom she has since forged strong ties.

She said: “We have been on a journey together for the past two years and it seemed fitting that we were all taking part in The Last Photo campaign and supporting each other.

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“Seeing the exhibit was overwhelming: a sea of ​​beautiful faces young and old, male and female, under the leafy canopy of trees along the South Rim. Hard to believe that all those happy smileys had died by suicide.

“My immediate reaction when I saw the life-size photo of Peter was to cry. I put my hand to his face in disbelief as I remembered that photo I had taken on our 33rd anniversary of wedding, just three months before his death.

According to the suicide prevention charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), 61% of people would find it difficult to tell if someone they knew felt suicidal.

For confidential assistance, the Samaritans can be reached free of charge 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, on 116 123. You can also email the Samaritans at [email protected]write to Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK, PO Box 9090, STIRLING, FK8 2SA or visit www.samaritans.org/branches to find the nearest branch.

Alternatively, you can find more mental health services in Greater Manchester on the NHS Foundation Trust website.

Jack C. Nugent