Don’t bottle feelings inside, urges heartbroken sister of man who lost his life to suicide

A picture of Stefanie Stavri with her brother Rene in happier times. Picture: Stefanie Stavri

A picture of Stefanie Stavri with her brother Rene in happier times. Picture: Stefanie Stavri - Credit: Stefanie Stavri

A Hackney woman who lost her brother to suicide this year has spoken out to raise awareness about mental health issues – and is urging anyone who feels desperate to “try one more conversation or one more phone call”.

Rene Stavri was 22 when he killed himself in January after a bout of depression. His sister Stefanie said the illness had “quickly spiralled out of control”, and “isolated him from human connection and the things that brought him joy”.

Stefanie, 30, described how she believes depression can make problems feel insurmountable and can push people away from you.

She believes “crippling shame” rather than sadness killed her brother – because depression can be misleading.

“The irony is that I couldn’t have been more proud of him,” she told the Gazette. “My heart is split into a thousand pieces as I question how so much love couldn’t save his life.”

She said her message for people who are experiencing suicidal thoughts would be: “Let people that love you in to dispel those myths.”

“Asking for help and support is far stronger than bottling feelings inside and trying to deal with them alone to save face,” she added.

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“You may feel you are in total darkness right now and you cannot endure any more pain. But one of the most beautiful things about life is that it is transitional and the way you feel today may not be the way you feel tomorrow or in a month’s time.

“Please try one more conversation or one more phone call. It can bring candlelight to your darkness until the light starts to enter again.

“I know it’s hard to believe that there are people that can help you or you may even feel that your loved ones are better off without you.

“Depression lies to you.”

Stefanie believes NHS mental health resources are inadequate, and that the community should do its best to raise money for charities that can offer support to those who are struggling.

Her friend, celebrity yoga teacher Steffy White, is holding a fundraiser yoga class in London Fields in aid of male suicide charity CALM in tribute to Rene at 10am on September 9.

You can call Samaritans on 116 123 for confidential emotional support.