AT the age of 43, Suzanne Baines felt like she had lost everything.

After working in health and social care for several years, the Erskine mum-of-two found herself out of a job as she struggled with mental health problems stemming from abuse in childhood.

She had lost her income and her family life and marriage began to suffer.

As her feelings of desperation plummeted to a new low, Suzannefelt as if she could not go on and made an attempt to end her life.


“I was broken,” she told The Gazette. “At that point, I was just so low.

“We had lost our income and it was affecting my family situation and my marriage and it was a difficult few years.

“The difficulty with mental health issues is you do not see it coming.

“I felt I had disappointed my family and I felt like I just did not fit. I spent five years studying while raising a family. 

“I was trying to be so much more than what happened to me.”

Thankfully, Suzanne is now able to share the story of her suicide attempt with The Gazette, in a bid to help others.

Since spending time in hospital and receiving treatment, she has made steps to try to help others who feel they have hit rock bottom.

The 48-year-old has set up a business called You Matter Always, which features a range of tools to help people when they may be feeling worthless. 

She has created concertina-style cards which include inspiring messages, tips for talking and spaces for people to place memories of loved ones, reminding them they are important and cared for.

The Gazette: Angie Ritchie read her words of wisdomAngie Ritchie read her words of wisdom

She said she is determined to keep fighting for better understanding of mental health problems in society and recognising the signs in people much earlier in life.

Suzanne told The Gazette: “When I went into hospital after a suicide attempt, I was given a card which said ‘choose life’ on it but I just felt like the mind is so complex. I wasn’t not choosing life – you just need to know that someone cares.

“So I came home and sat one night and just thought they are still not getting it, all these services, and gradually came up with You Matter Always.

“I do not know if you ever come out the other end because there’s so much in recovery.

“It’s more like a journey of rediscovery.

“When I got treatment, it made me realise people are so much more than what has happened to them. I am very much about getting in there earlier and showing people someone cares and that they do matter.”

Suzanne was also one of several people who took part in a poignant event in Paisley recently, run by the Renfrewshire Anti-Stigma Alliance (RASA), where those who had faced mental health issues and troubled pasts stepped up to tell their tale through poetry.

RASA is an alliance of statutory, voluntary and community groups which are all striving to end mental health stigma and discrimination across Renfrewshire. Groups which are involved include You Matter Always, Recovery Across Mental Health and Renfrewshire Leisure.

The passages were all put in a booklet, called Poems with Purpose, and each of them focuses on the importance of connection and the difference that can make to someone’s health, wellbeing and recovery.

Suzanne, who had two poems in the book, said she was delighted with how the event went and is proud of how Renfrewshire is standing up to prejudice against those finding life tough.

She said: “It was actually a really emotive and powerful day and some of the poems were just fantastic.

“There was a real sense of community and strength and people coming together to say it’s okay not to be okay but it’s not okay to discriminate. My poem Label Jars, Not People was written in acknowledgement of the mental health stigma and discrimination which is still prevalent in society on too many levels.

The Gazette: The Poems with Purpose bookletsThe Poems with Purpose booklets

“My other one, Connected Communities, was really about the importance of connection. Tackling mental health stigma and discrimination is everyone’s job.” 

Anyone can get hold of a copy of Poems with Purpose by sending an email to

READ MORE: Suzanne Baines’ poem with purpose: Label Jars, Not People

If you are struggling to cope with any mental health issue, there are several numbers you can call for help.

These include Breathing Space on 0800 838 587, Childline Scotland on 0800 1111, NHS 24 on 111 and Samaritans on 116 123.

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