AN ANGLESEY MUM has spoken about the heartbreak of losing a child to suicide and the need to improve the support available to the families left behind.

Alice Minnigin would have turned 33 on May 26. However, instead of celebrating in the company of friends and family, her Mum, Nina Roberts and brother Luke scattered her ashes and held a fireworks display above the Moelwyn mountains of her home community of Blaenau Ffestiniog.

Nina says it’s what her “incredibly funny, caring, bright and unique” daughter would have wanted.

It was the first birthday that Nina celebrated without Alice, a former Ysgol Moelwyn pupil, who took her own life on August 7 last year.

While Nina says the signs were always there because of Alice’s difficult childhood, the news of her daughter’s death still hit her “like a car crash”.

“Alice had a difficult childhood and experienced a huge amount of sexual abuse from her Father, who took his own life after he was charged,” she explained.

“She found it really difficult over the years but she was a survivor and she always seemed to come through.

“The signs were always there because of her history, but I genuinely thought she had got past it. She had got a place to study nursing, she’d been working full time in Bristol and she had a house and a mortgage.”

Nine months on, Nina, a Mental Health Manager with Bangor-based charity Anheddau, says the raw pain of losing her daughter still hits her “like a sledgehammer” some days, and her life will never be the same again.

Despite this, the mum-of-two, from Rhydwyn on Anglesey, says she is determined to remember Alice in a positive way, reminding herself that life has to go on, just as the love for her daughter will.

She has found some solace in an informal support group of other North Wales mums who are bereaved by suicide, but says the offer of more formal support is needed.

Nina is now working with Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and other organisations to introduce a postvention pathway to support families bereaved by suicide.

It is hoped that this will include the offer of emotional support, as well as practical help in the immediate days and weeks following a loved one’s death.

She said: “You get a knock on the door and your whole life is turned upside down and then you’re left to pick up the pieces. The shock is just unbelievable and the physical pain you feel is very strange.

“I’ve spoken to other mums who have been in the same situation. Once the blue lights go all you are given is an incident number for your child who has died.

“If somebody died in a car crash of they were murdered then that person’s family would be supported by a family liaison officer. Suicide is a violent death so there should be support in place for those families, even if it’s just to help in those first few days.

“It’s something basic that is needed. If you put better postvention support in place then that can act as prevention. My daughter died by suicide, and her father died by suicide. Where does it stop?”