A GRIEF-STRICKEN daughter whose dad killed himself after being sacked from Tesco has shared a shocking image of him in his coffin to highlight the tragic reality of mental health issues.
Siobhan Winstanley, a 28-year-old mum-of-three from Blackpool, is haunted by the image of her dad Shaun, 49, surrounded by pictures of his family, including his three children and beloved dog.
Shaun, who struggled with depression and anxiety, committed suicide five days after losing his job at Tesco for 'chasing a shoplifter'.
Siobhan told Fabulous Digital: “This is the reality of mental health today. I am sharing the photo so people can see the reality. That’s my dad in that coffin with pictures of me and my family."
She continued: “This is the dad who carried me on his shoulders up and down Blackpool Promenade, who laughed and joked with us on holidays and who DJed at our school discos when we were kids.
“I keep getting told that it’s okay not to be okay. But my dad was a lost soul who nobody noticed or cared about. Nothing about that is okay.”
Shaun met Siobhan’s mum, Angela, when she was just three years old.
They were married within six months and Shaun raised Siobhan and her older sister, Danielle, as his own. In November 1996 Shaun and Angela had a son, Liam.
Siobhan said: “I had no contact with my biological dad and Shaun stepped into that role. We called him ‘dad’ and we idolised him.
This is the reality of mental health today. I am sharing the photo so people can see the realitySiobhan Winstanley
“He was very firm. He was the one who made us do the washing up and tidy our rooms.
"But he was also lots of fun. He did the school discos, and he had strobe lights and smoke machines.
“The other kids loved him but of course because he was our dad, we were mortified.
“The neighbours would often think our house was on fire, because of his smoke machines."
YOU ARE NOT ALONE
It doesn't discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society - from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You're Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others... You're Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
Siobhan added: “He made sure we had a holiday every summer and we had some good times.
"He threw himself into the usual ‘dad’ stuff; he’d go on stage on holiday, dressed in women’s clothes and embarrass us all.
My dad was a lost soul who nobody noticed or cared about. Nothing about that is okaySiobhan Winstanley
“He loved taking us on the rollercoasters at the Blackpool Pleasure Beach. He’d buy fireworks for Bonfire Night. He was always up for a party, and he was happy and smiley.
"But when I look back at photos now his eyes are very serious.”
Shaun and Angela separated when Siobhan was 16. But he and Siobhan remained close.
She went on to have three children of her own, and lived a short distance from Shaun.
In 2002, Shaun began working for Tesco.
Siobhan said: “My mum moved on from the split, but dad didn’t re-marry. He got himself a little Bichon Frise, called Benjy, but he became quite isolated.
"In the two years before his death, I saw much less of him. He could be quite set in his ways, which made things hard. If I had known he was struggling, I would have made more effort.
"Looking back, I should have looked after him more, but I had no idea he was depressed.
“I was busy, working and looking after my three young children, and I didn’t give him enough thought.”
I had no idea he was depressed. I was busy, working and looking after my three young children, and I didn’t give him enough thoughtSiobhan Winstanley
In May 2018, Shaun was working at Tesco when a robber, wearing a clown mask, burst into the store armed with a gun.
Siobhan said: “Dad stepped in and tried to detain him, but the robber got away. Afterwards, dad was really upset. He had a week off sick but was still struggling and had to take more time off.
“He said he had been disciplined for missing three shifts following the robbery. He was moved to a new store in Poulton-le-Fylde, thinking a change of environment would help."
On January 2, he was suspended from his job for chasing a shoplifter out of the store and leaving his till. The following month, on February 6, he was sacked, despite an appeal.
He was told the decision was made because of the “unreasonable behaviour” of chasing a shoplifter and putting himself and a customer in danger.
He had worked for the supermarket giant for 17 years and had won several awards including Years of Outstanding Service.
On February 11 this year, five days after he was sacked, Shaun spent the day filling in forms and looking for a new job. He then took his own life.
Siobhan said: “I got a call from Liam, to say that dad was dead. I just didn’t believe it. He was only 49 years old. I was in total shock.”
Why is male suicide so high?
Male suicide is often called the 'silent killer' as it is the single biggest cause of death for men under the age of 45 in the UK.
Figures from 2018 show that male suicide rates across the UK are three times higher than female suicide rates.
Shocking statistics reveal 84 men take their own life each week.
A suicide statistics report, released in 2017, by the Samaritans showed there were 6,639 suicides in the UK and the Republic of Ireland (ROI) in 2015.
Of that figure 4,997 were men, meaning 75 per cent of all suicides in 2015 in the UK and the ROI were committed by men.
Despite it being the biggest killer of men under the age of 45, the age group which had the highest rates of suicide were aged between 40-44 in the UK.
Siobhan had to identify Shaun’s body at Blackpool Victoria Hospital. She also organised his funeral.
She said: "My dad had mental health issues. He wasn’t thinking straight, He didn’t intend to become poorly."
An inquest in August was told how his fragile mental state further deteriorated following the sacking until his eventual death sometime between February 11 and February 13 - nine months after the gunpoint incident.
Coroner Clare Doherty recorded a conclusion of suicide. She said: “A friend spoke with Mr Winstanley on February 8 and he expressed thoughts of self-harm.
“It seems to tie in with the fact that he had appealed the loss of his job and he had not been successful in that appeal on that day."
My dad had mental health issues. He wasn’t thinking straight, He didn’t intend to become poorlySiobhan Winstanley
She continued: “It was apparent that his employment was not going to be restored and he was devastated by that.
"He was an employee for 17 years and had won an award in the past for being a good employee.
“Mr Winstanley had suffered a marked mental deterioration last summer while at work he had witnessed at armed robbery.
“He was very affected by it and he had counselling from his employer and help from another agency called Supporting Minds.
“It does appear that he had fragile mental health and these events have caused a deterioration."
Siobhan added: “We have got our father in an urn in my living room. I sit there every morning with my coffee and look at him and wonder maybe if things had been different, he would still be here.
“I feel guilty that I didn’t support him more. I feel awful that I didn’t see the signs, that I didn’t make more effort to keep in touch. I think there needs to be an awareness of mental health."
I feel guilty that I didn’t support him more. I feel awful that I didn’t see the signsSiobhan Winstanley
A Tesco spokeswoman said: “We were extremely sad to hear about Shaun Winstanley’s death.
"He was a long-standing colleague who had many friends in our business. We worked closely with him to provide dedicated support and counselling. Our thoughts remain with his family.”
YOU'RE NOT ALONE
Meanwhile, a heartbroken woman revealed she tried to kill herself after her 'cold' dad refused to hug her. Read her inspirational story.
Holly told how she was just five when her dad killed himself.
If you or a loved one are affected by mental health problems, or suicidal thoughts, call the Samaritans helpline on 116 123