A Northern Ireland mother’s heartache after losing her son Kailum O’Connor to suicide

The mother of a social media star who died nearly two years ago has issued a stern message to elected officials.

Sharon O’Connor lost her son Kailum to suicide on June 1, 2020, after she was reported missing by concerned friends and family.

The 21-year-old’s videos on TikTok, Snapchat and YouTube have garnered millions of views as he uses his creative personality to connect with users around the world.

Read more: ‘Open your eyes’: Belfast mum’s message to Stormont after losing son to suicide

Speaking to Belfast Live, Sharon said she would not be hosting political parties at her home in the next election as she is ‘still waiting for the promises they made after Kailum died’.

The Ballynahinch wife said: “Kailum was my firstborn. He was very funny, smart and so smart. He was brilliant on social media – TikTok, YouTube etc. He was carefree. He worked as a hairdresser and was doing great .

“He gave no signs that he was suicidal or feeling depressed.

Kailum and his mom Sharon

“The day he disappeared he was at the beach and had done a TikTok, that’s actually how I knew he had been at the beach, from TikTok.

“I’ll never forget it, it was around 8 p.m. and he said to me, ‘Okay mum, it’s me, I’ll talk to you later, I love you’. His friends then started coming in. contact with I asked if I had seen Kailum, no one had heard from him, I was the last person to see him.

“We called the police and the search started. By midnight they had searched everywhere, sniffer dogs and a helicopter were out. We couldn’t find him anywhere. His body was then found at 3.30am this morning. morning, in the woods behind my house.

“Every day and night I see these woods. I have been looking at these woods for 22 months, since his death.”

Sharon says she was offered six counseling sessions at Ballynahinch but had to wait almost 18 months to take the course.

The mum-of-three is also awaiting an appointment for bereavement counseling and support during a move.

“I will never, ever forget the morning my Kailum died,” she said.

“My sister-in-law phoned my doctors, because I was in serious condition. She told the doctor what had happened and they gave me seven diazepam for the week and told me that I I was a strong person and that I would pull through.

Kailum, five days before his death
Kailum, five days before his death

“I don’t remember too much about that week or the funeral. I have flashbacks about it all the time. I was promised the world when I lost my son. Counselors came to see me and m said they’d help me move, so I wouldn’t look at those woods every day.

“To our elected officials, they must do their job and help us. After my son died, I had advisers on the phone who promised they would help me – I am still waiting for that help. We are approaching an election now, and I don’t want any of them knocking on my door asking for my vote.

“There’s nothing here for the youngsters of Ballynahinch, nothing at all. There’s nowhere to go except a few bars. All there would be is a ramshackle play park. age of my son?

“Kailum was my life. He was my best friend. My everything. I will never be the same again.”

If you or someone you know is in distress or despair, call Lifeline on 0808 808 8000. You will receive immediate telephone assistance and follow-up if needed. The helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Read more: I’ve hit rock bottom: Belfast funeral director’s mental health journey

Read more: Belfast hub offers 1,000 hours of free mental health support in first months

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