Ches. family hopes to raise awareness about suicide

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Suicide has been in the news recently after the death of actor Robin Williams. While it’s not an easy topic of conversation, some families feel there should be more discussions on the issue.

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Kathy Holmes first child, Paul Hanbury, would have turned 32 years old on Saturday. While family and friends still celebrated, it was a difficult day for the Chesapeake family.

“He was a wonderful human being,” said Holmes.

Hanbury died of suicide on July 11 in Portsmouth. It’s an experience Holmes never thought her family would know about.

“It’s hit our family this time,” she said. “It’s our son.”

Holmes said her son had a troubled past. He had a drug addiction. He also suffered from symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder, bi-polar disorder, and anxiety. His mother said he wasn’t medicated for his illness.

On July 11, Portsmouth Police showed up to a residence on Arizona Street. Spokesperson Misty Holley said in a news release officers were serving an arrest warrant to Hanbury.

“[In] less than a minute, my son had a gun and he shot himself in the head,” said Holmes. “He committed suicide.”

Holmes said, no other mother or family should feel the pain the comes with suicide. She said her family is now trying to raise awareness about suicide.

At Hanbury’s funeral, they had a slideshow that included statistics about suicide and drug use. The family will also walk in the Out of the Darkness Community Walk happening at Mt. Trashmore in Virginia Beach on September 6. They invite others to join their team, “Finding Hope.”

Holmes’ advice to other families is to offer help to someone who is struggling with mental illness.

And for other parents, she said, “Pay attention to the hurts, other than the bruises or the stitches they might have to get. Listen to them. Let them talk to you and tell them what’s going on.”

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