Stacey Turner, Luna Lived Experience Network. A white female with brown eyes and long, straight, dark brown hair, smiles at the camera

Introducing members of the Luna Lived Experience Network: meet Stacey

‘At last!’

That was Luna Lived Experience Network Member Stacey Turner’s thought when she first heard about Luna’s mission to improve support for children and young people bereaved by the suicide of a parent or primary carer.

Stacey, from South Wales, was 16 when her dad’s mental health began to deteriorate.

She explains, ‘I was the only sibling left at home, I felt helpless, overwhelmed, and had no idea what was to come. Three years later he ended his life by suicide. I cannot begin to explain the ripple effect this had on me and my family. The impact affected every aspect of our lives, trying to navigate our grief and analyse what happened, why it happened and thinking, were we not enough. Without support, what inevitably followed were patterns of ill mental health, low self-esteem and loss of purpose.’

Children and young people who lose a parent to suicide often develop patterns of high-risk behaviour and, according to a wide-ranging study by Johns Hopkins University, are twice as likely to be hospitalised for depression and three times more likely to take their own life.

The Luna Lived Experience Network is drawing together powerful testimony from those who have lost a parent to suicide when they were children in order to drive forward improvements in the support available to other youngsters who experience parental suicide.

Make every contact count

Stacey has drawn on her own experience to train as a mental health nurse practitioner to support others suffering with poor mental health and suicidality. She has worked for the NHS in a variety of acute mental health settings, in the general hospital environment, emergency department, 111 service and led a new mental health development within a private occupational health company.

‘I am extremely passionate about suicide prevention, leadership and development of mental health services to make ‘every contact count’, says Stacey, who brings a wealth of skills and experience to the Luna Lived Experience Network.

‘As well as a diploma in leadership and management, I am a mental health trainer, trauma risk assessor with extra skills in risk management and solution focused therapy. I have completed a Suicide First Aid tutor training course and more recently graduated from Swansea University with a Postgraduate teaching certificate in Health Education. I thoroughly enjoy teaching, educating and upskilling others in mental health topics to raise awareness, reduce stigma and improve resilience.’

Together we can support our children

Stacey met Luna CEO and founder, Anna Wardley, during a Suicide First Aid tutor training programme and says she was instantly inspired by her lived experience, journey, devotion, and compassion in raising awareness on the difficult and emotive topic of suicide.

‘When I heard Luna’s mission my first thought was, ‘at last.’ I am all too familiar with the devastating impact of parental suicide and the ripple effect this trauma has going into adulthood. Educating others to support children bereaved by parental suicide is, in my opinion, integral to prevent ill mental health and the impact unresolved trauma can have on the young developing brain.

‘That’s why I am glad to support Luna in their mission to improve the support for every child or young person impacted after a parent or primary caregiver dies by suicide. I believe every person, company or organisation supporting young people would benefit from the fundamental training and education Luna can provide.

‘Together we can support our children and be the guiding light which helps them through the grieving process and their lives after suffering a parental suicide.’

Lived experience is in our DNA

Clare Foster is facilitating the Network and says lived experience is in Luna’s DNA.

‘The Luna Lived Experience Network brings together people who have lost a parent to suicide. Network members inform and guide the work being done by Luna, share their stories and work with other members to improve support for children bereaved by parental suicide. They also take on important paid work for Luna, facilitating training and reviewing content. As well as their own lived experience, our members bring a wide range of skills to the group. It’s wonderful to see it growing as Luna’s reach expands and we hope it will continue to do so as more people with lived experience come forward.’

The next Luna Lived Experience Network information session for people who lost a parent to suicide as a child or young person up to the age of 25 is on Tuesday 14 March at 12 noon. It’s online, lasts about an hour and you’ll be able to ask questions. You can reserve a place here to find out more about the Network, its work, and whether it is a fit for you.

Please be aware this is not a direct support group but we can provide information of other organisations if that is what you are looking for at the moment. You can also find a wealth of useful information in The Hub.