Ex-wife of Kingston police officer Adam Woodford who committed suicide becomes counsellor
A woman whose police officer ex-husband committed suicide has become a counsellor.
Witness care officer for the police, Helen Woodford, was married to Adam, a sergeant in Kingston for 12 years.
After retiring from the police and being made redundant at a music shop, he became depressed and committed suicide aged 43, leaving two children.
She said: "Mental illness can happen in any family. It was no one's fault and I don’t blame him. But I knew my children would need professional help and our GP suggested a particular charity."
Winston's Wish provides highly trained counsellors in child bereavement and specialise in suicide, manslaughter and murder.
Helen and the two children attended a Winston's Wish residential weekend in West Sussex along with nine other families - and were given an opportunity to grieve and talk about their loss.
"Up until that weekend, Edward had not been able to talk about what happened. But the weekend camp transformed him and enabled him to open up and get the support he needed.
"We are still in contact with everyone on that camp - and so are my children. That is priceless."
Since then Helen has gone on to become a volunteer counsellor attending nine of the charity's residential weekends.
"I felt like it was the end of the world when I lost Adam - but there is help if you know where to look."
Helen gives talks to schools to raise awareness of the work of the charity.
She also gives informal guidance to police officers at Sutton who have sought her help before dealing with suicides or any other kind of bereavement.
"It’s about how to approach and talk to the family. I know from experience how I would want to be spoken to."