Talk. That’s all that Elinor Jackson and Donna Dalton wish their dad had done. Told someone how he was really feeling.

They were close to their dad. They knew was feeling down - depressed even, having suffered from primary progressive multiple sclerosis for a number of years. But no-one - not even those closest to him - realised just how low he felt.

If only he had spoken to them - spoken to anyone - about how he was really feeling they may just have been able to help.

Colin Seaton, a proud husband and father - a much-loved papa to his five grandchildren - took his own life on April 18, 2017. He was aged 63.

No-one ever thought the popular former self-employed painter and decorator would do what he did.

Keen not to have other families go through what they have, Elinor and Donna are encouraging all of us to talk if we feel low, for everyone - medical professionals included - to realise that depression can affect us all, that there’s no shame in it and that none of us should be afraid to ask anyone how they really feel.

They’ve also been supporting a charity that provides critical - often life-saving - support.

Elinor, 38, of Annan, said: “I knew that because of his illness he was feeling low. I never thought he was that low though.

“What happened left us with so many unanswered questions - so many things we want to know.

“Life changed for us in the blink of an eye.”

What made things difficult for people to comprehend about Colin’s death, his family say, was his personality.

Throughout his life he had been happy-go-lucky, sociable, and - even as he dealt with his illnesses - retained a good wit.

Married to Elaine for 39 years, he was an out-and-out family man, well-known in Annan and the surrounding area.

“People still say how happy and smiley he always was. He was so likeable,” added Elinor, a school catering assistant.

Like in so many other cases, however, the sisters believe their dad never really shared how he was feeling - a fact health experts have repeatedly said is a feature of many tragedies involving men in this region.

Since their dad’s death, Elinor and Donna have made no secret of how he passed away - sharing messages on Facebook - and say it is surprising how many people have been affected by suicide in some way.

Donna, 35, said: “If you think someone in your family isn’t themselves, ask them.

“It’s hard to know how people are feeling.”

And that’s a message that they hope wider society will take on as well - so that every opportunity to check on someone’s well-being is taken.

“I went to medical appointments with my dad and never once did anyone ask how he was feeling,” added Donna, a support worker.

“It was always physical checks. Never once did they ask how he was feeling in himself.”

Elinor explained: “When you’ve got an illness, people focus so much on that. They sometimes don’t realise that other things can follow from it. It’s just about talking about that.”

They know that for everyone involved it’s challenging. Their dad had previously spoken about how suicide was something

Colin had previously told his family that suicide was something he didn’t agree with. It’s a fact that’s given them an insight into how low he must have to got to in himself.

“It’s difficult to get talking about it,” admitted Elinor. “It’s difficult to raise awareness. But we said from the start that we were going to be quite open. That gave us a bit of focus that hopefully can help someone else.”

Part of that focus has included taking on a fundraising challenge.

Elinor and Donna were among 500 people who took part in 4,200-step sponsored stair climb in The Big Stomp for the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) at Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, on October 6.

Their efforts have contributed £1,325 to the cause, which counts Olympic cycling legend Sir Chris Hoy among its highest-profile supporters

“It was something different for us to do. It was emotional, but good,” said Donna, a mum-of-two. “It gave us something to focus on and knowing why we were doing it kept us going.”

“It was an emotional day,” agreed mum-of-three Elinor. “Everyone there was doing it in memory of someone. The money raised goes towards helping running groups or keeping services going for people who are struggling with mental health.

“It was physical, but we thought of dad and what he went through with his own illnesses. He got up every day, even though he was ill. He pushed himself to do that so that pushed me on - as well as raising awareness that there’s not a stigma about this any more.”

The recent Coronation Street storyline surrounding the suicide of Aidan Connor has been credited with shining a spotlight on men’s mental health while the Movember campaign throughout November highlighted the issue among others.

Even just one person can be helped by the sisters’ fundraising and awareness-raising they say it will be worth it.

“We don’t want sympathy,” said Elinor. “It’s not about us.

“When we share things on Facebook it’s about raising awareness. We want to try and help. It’s about other families out there that they are not the only ones.”

Where you can get help

nTo find out more about SAMH, go to

nIf you’re feeling low or need to speak to someone, you can call the Samaritans on 116 123 or go to