AFTER seeing their lives "implode" two-and-a-half years ago, the family of a much-loved Dunfermline man are urging those with mental health problems to seek the help they need.

Former bodybuilder Stuart Edmond was found dead in his family home on Christmas Day 2016 at the age of 53 after a battle with his mental health.

He had stopped taking his prescribed medication, something which wife Evelyn and daughter Samantha believe ultimately cost him his life.

The family had noticed differences in Stuart's behaviour in the months leading up to his death.

"I didn't know but he was not taking all of his medication – he was taking what he felt he needed at the time," said Samantha. "He was just very very different. He started getting very short and his attitude changed. He was really emotional."

On Christmas Eve, Stuart had been out with friends and, on his return, acted in a way which was completely out of character for such a family-orientated man because he hadn't taken his anti-depressant medication.

"I found him on Christmas morning. Then had to tell mum and phone an ambulance which is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do," said Samantha. "I think if I had phoned him or gone to speak to him the night before, would it have been different? It is a process that you go through."

Because of the way Stuart was found, police were involved, which resulted in family members being grilled and grieving wife Evelyn being taken to Glenrothes Police Station on Boxing Day to be medically examined.

Evelyn recalled: "It was not explained to me what was going to happen. I had to get examined by a doctor to eliminate me from their inquiries. It is not uncommon and they could be dealing with this stuff in a more sensitive manner.

"I don't want to criticise them, I just feel the whole situation is not done in a way that is considerate to the family. They should perhaps have more training and things could be handled better even in as much as dealing with a couple of consistent officers.

"They have family liaison officers, domestic abuse officers but nothing specific for suicide."

Evelyn was eventually allowed back into the house just over a week after Stuart's death after an autopsy had been carried out.

A massive 800 people attended Stuart's funeral at the Glen Pavilion and the family are hoping that speaking out through the Press' We Need To Talk campaign will help prevent others having to go through what they did.

"It is the most traumatic thing that anyone will ever experience but if it dissuades one single person, it is worth its weight in gold," said Evelyn. "I have got four kids and they have all been affected differently.

"If I had a penny from everyone who said it is such a selfish act. They don't know. He was ill. People who take their lives don't want to kill themselves. They just want the pain to stop but for people who do this, their pain stops but their family's doesn't. It is massive, it is life-long.

"He was the main thread of our family. He was everything to us. He was who we all went to when we were in trouble, any time anything went wrong.

"We were together for 30-odd years. He was my source of confidence, he was the first point of contact if anything was bothering me and just to have that ripped out from under you.

"He was my soul mate, the only man I ever loved. Even now I still expect my phone to go. I still expect him to come through the door at certain times of the day."

Evelyn said Stuart had himself realised he was not himself in the months leading up to his death.

"We had a conversation about four or five weeks before he died. We were sitting sharing a bottle of red wine cuddled up on the couch and he said, 'I am going to have to go back to the doctor because I am hating the way I am feeling'.

"I had approached him a couple of times as I could see him slipping. I knew he had come off his meds. He was not honest with me. I knew the difference of him on and off the medication. You know the difference, you see it.

"He was waiting until after Christmas because when you go on the meds, they can make you feel worse before you feel better. That is what stops a lot of people going back on meds."

On previous occasions when Stuart had gone back onto medication, it had made him suicidal and he once had to section himself for a night for his own safety.

"He had a couple of years where he was quite well but unfortunately when they get well, they think, 'I am not depressed any more, I can come off the medication'," said Evelyn.

"Stuart had an underactive thyroid and he would never have dreamt of coming off his Thyroxine because he knew what it would do. People who suffer from depression, I hear it time and time again, think they can come off their meds because they are feeling better but that is because the drugs are working.

"Anyone who is medicated and wanting to come off their meds or alter the dose should do so under medical supervision. Stuart would still be with us if he had done it that way.

"There is no shame in being depressed. It is a chemical imbalance. Our GP was so good and he couldn't have had more help and it was just not enough. Sometimes it is too hard for them to keep going. What it leaves behind is terrible.

"I wish I had a penny for everyone who said I would have never thought Stuart was ill but they are masters at hiding it. There should not be a stigma but there is."

Housing officer Samantha wants to change the stigma attached to mental health illness.

"You tell people how he died and it is like you have shot their puppy," she added. "People cross the road to get away to not speak. They would not do that if he had had cancer.

"The police officers said they do it on a daily basis and so does the housing service, and so does social work. It hits a nerve with me when people say they are thinking about suicide. I want to tell them about the impact that would have on their friends and family."