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If you ever met David Gillman, you’d find it difficult to believe he ever put a gun to his head and seriously contemplated pulling the trigger. Yet that is exactly what he did.  If you then learned, as I did, that he was twelve years old at the time; you’d be gob-smacked.  He doesn’t seem the type, or at least, that was my first thought. Then I stopped and thought about it again. What exactly is the type?  What kind of turmoil or trauma leads a twelve year old to consider taking their own life? 

We make a lot of assumptions about people who try to kill themselves.  They’re selfish, they’re crazy, they’re looking for attention and some of the time, very rarely, some of these may be true.  Blaming the victim isn’t going to bring him back, though of course, it’s a lot easier than blaming yourself.  That’s the trouble with suicide. The person we want to blame isn’t here to explain himself.  I wonder what would happen if we just stopped blaming altogether?


Sadly, David’s experience is not uncommon.  Youth suicide numbers are steadily rising, as are the statistics for suicides in general.  More and more families are suffering the after-effects of losing a loved one to suicide.  It’s not just the immediate grief that occurs with the death of any child, suicide also brings unimaginable baggage which parents and loved ones carry with them every remaining day of their lives.  “What did I do wrong?” “How could I not have known?”  “Why didn’t he tell me he was miserable?”  “How could I have missed the warning signs?”  These are tormenting questions which seldom provide any answers, because the only person who could truly answer them is no longer here.


David survived to live a happy and productive life, but the ghost of his near death experience and other traumatic episodes from his youth nagged at him.  It was not the memory of that day that bothered him, even though he remembers every detail with crystal clarity. It was the knowledge that many young lives, just like his, will continue to be lost unless something is done to stop it happening. He realised that ordinary people needed to know what to do and how to help their children.


ReWrite the Rules has been written for the families and friends of people in danger of attempting to take their own life. It is easy to follow and understand and offers valuable insights into bullied children’s thought processes.  The book provides a clear-cut set of rules to overcome the challenges faced by the very many people suffering from depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation.

David answers the questions every grief-stricken parent wishes they had known to ask.  Where do I go to get help if I’m worried?  How can I be sure if I seek help for my child I won’t make it worse? How can family members and other interested parties identify someone at risk, before they act? What are the triggering factors and how can I safely shut them down? These questions and others of a similar ilk prompted David to write about his experiences in his newly-released (Oct 2019) book.  He hoped that in writing about it, at least one life and one family would be spared.

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