Two parents have had to endure the devastating heartbreak of all three of their sons committing suicide in a span of six years. They are speaking out after their third son took his life over the weekend.
Stephen Ferrin, 31, was discovered in his north Belfast home Saturday, just days after he had been reported missing. The father of a 7-year-old girl, Ferrin was described by his parents and sisters as “a handsome, bubbly and witty young man.” He was reportedly treated in a hospital shortly before his death.
“Stephen is a father, a brother and a son who is cherished and deeply loved and he will be sadly missed by all his friends and family,” his parents, Patricia and Eddie, told the Belfast Telegraph. “He was a handsome young man, who was very witty and who had lots and lots of friends … His death is devastating to us, to his friends and to the whole community and we would like to bury him with dignity and the respect he deserves.”
Remarkably, it is the fourth suicide to hit the family. Stephen’s younger brothers — Kieran, 24, and Niall, 19, previously committed suicide, as did their cousin Christopher, who was also 19 years old. The Belfast Telegraph reported that Kieran was beaten unconscious and left with facial injuries in a sectarian attack five months before he ended his own life.
“All of a sudden I think he went into a downward spiral and he left the training and ended up leaving his job,” family friend Philip McTaggart, who lost his own son to suicide, told Belfast Live. “These are all classic signs that a young man is feeling down and maybe some things had just got on top of him.”
The newspaper also reported that Stephen had lost at least five close friends to suicide in recent years, compounding his grief.