Suicide ‘hot-spot’ transformed thanks to grieving family

Sister Samantha, with the rest of her family at the 'hope triangle', hangs a CD in memory of her brother
Sister Samantha, with the rest of her family at the 'hope triangle', hangs a CD in memory of her brother
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AN area of land dubbed a “suicide hot-spot” is to be transformed into a “hope triangle” thanks to the parents of a young man who died there.

John and Karyn Stewart hope no-one else visiting the area will take the same devastating decision as their son Craig, who chose to end his life there last year aged just 21.

Craig Stewart took his own life last year

Craig Stewart took his own life last year

The area of land where Craig and others have died, near Oxgangs Neighbourhood 
Centre in Firrhill Drive, is now set to be transformed into an area which will promote mental health and wellbeing.

John and Karyn looked on yesterday as the project, which has been set up in partnership with Firrhill Community Council, was formally launched.

Karyn said: “We don’t want another family to go through what we have gone through. We didn’t want to put just a bench there because we didn’t want anybody sitting there thinking of doing the same thing.

“We wanted something to make people stop and think if they are having problems, and to remind them that help is out there.”

There was no hint of the torment Craig was going through before he killed himself on July 30 last year.

Craig, nicknamed Cougar, had been apparently enjoying himself with friends and family at home, before he disappeared in the early hours of the morning. He posted a farewell message on his Facebook page and his body was discovered later that day.

More than a year on, his family is still struggling to come to terms with the loss.

“The last time anyone saw him he was in our house, singing and dancing,” Karyn said. “There were no signs – nothing. All of his friends were completely devastated and keep asking us why? But we can’t answer because we don’t know ourselves.

“Craig would do anything for anybody. He would take on anyone’s problems and try to help them. A couple of people have called Craig selfish but we don’t see that at all – we just see how much pain and 
turmoil he must have been in.”

The launch of the hope triangle project was timed to coincide with World Suicide Prevention Day. New fruit trees, benches and plants have already been brought to the area, and it is hoped that a living sculpture – a frame which plants will grow around and where messages can be left – will be added soon.

A scented corridor will lead to the triangle, while messages of hope which were created in art therapy sessions over the summer are to be put up at its entrance and on noticeboards.

Heather Levy, chair of Firrhill Community Council, said: “When the young man committed suicide it left his family and friends absolutely devastated. They approached me and asked if we could do it up in a way that would inspire hope.”

Groups will be able to make use of the space for therapy sessions, while individuals will also be welcome to use the space for reflection.

Ms Levy added: “It’s not just about suicide, it’s about all mental health issues. We want the garden to show that there are other options.”