“My brother Julian had bipolar disorder. My brother was intelligent, talented, and a delight. He was far more intelligent than his years. When he was 11 years old and I was 13, I remember being very excited because I was going to the school disco for the first time in my life. My mum was only allowing me to go because my brother was coming, too. My brother’s room was the only place that had a full-length mirror, and I wanted to check out my outfit and my hair. I rushed into his room only to be told, ‘No! You can’t come in yet, I’m doing electrolysis and collecting oxygen and hydrogen gas, you’ll have to wait!’
‘Electrolysis?’ I thought. ‘That’s something that we do in school, not in our bedroom!’ But this is how Julian was, always thinking about mixing chemicals together and making new things. When he was 14, he made a bomb that blew up the boys’ cloakrooms at school. He was excluded for a few days. As Julian got older, he joined a gang, started drinking and taking drugs, and became ill. It took years to diagnose his bipolar disorder. We tried to support him all we could, but we really didn’t know how to. ”
Julian Campbell Foundation is dedicated to my brother Julian. Through his struggles and suicide, we have seen the importance of support, identifying and managing mental health whilst young and in teenage years. Through this service, it is our aim to reduce self-harm and death due to suicide.
Extract from Runs in the Family by Jacqueline Campbell