VIKIE Shanks is the focus of a new documentary on Netflix about mental health and disability.
But who is she? Here’s what we know…
Vikie Shanks : Kingdom Of Us Vikie Shanks with her husband Paul and one of their daughters
Who is Vikie Shanks?
Vikie Shanks is a mum-of-seven from Kenilworth, Warks.
Her husband, who suffered from mental health issues, killed himself ten years ago, leaving her to care for their seven kids alone.
The former model has written a book about her life and now runs autism support group Autism One On One.
She has also somehow found the time to campaign against HS2.
Vikie Shanks : Kingdom Of Us Vikie, pictured with husband Paul in their younger days
When did Vikie lose her husband Paul to suicide?
Vikie lost her husband Paul Shanks – who was suffering from depression – to suicide in 2007.
The mum told the BBC she knew her husband had been struggling with his mental health in the years before his death.
But her troubled partner said he was going to take his own life so often that she no longer took the threat seriously, according to the Kenilworth Weekly News.
He reportedly left a long suicide note in his car and phoned cops to tell them of his plans before cutting himself and heading into Crackley Woods, Warks.
Vikie told the Daily Mail: “He cut his wrists and throat and bled to death. The police found him in the woods behind our house.”
Paul, then 51, is said to have collapsed into a pond where he was found by an officer with a sniffer dog following a trail of blood.
He was declared dead at the scene.
Netflix The documentary explores how the family tried to come to terms with their loss
How many children does Vikie have?
Vikie has seven children – six daughters and one son.
Six of her kids are autistic, while two have cerebral palsy.
Recalling the moment she was told of her husband’s death, Vikie reportedly said: “I just felt abject terror. I didn’t have time for grief.
“I didn’t know how I would look after so many children on my own.”
Vikie also discovered Paul had run up debts of £1million, and she was forced to run the family’s corporate entertainment business alone at the same time as caring for her grieving kids.
Vikie Shanks : Kingdom Of Us Vikie, pictured with her kids, hopes the film can raise awareness of mental health
What is Kingdom of Us?
Kingdom of Us is a new documentary on Netflix about the family’s struggle in the wake of Paul’s death.
For three years, film maker Lucy Cohen spent time with the family as they tried to come to terms with their loss.
In the trailer for the documentary, which features emotional interviews and home movies, one of his daughters recalls the last conversation she ever had with her dad.
She says: “I can still remember the morning before he died him having come into my room and closed the door.
“And he just pleaded with me, he told me he had nobody left and that I was his last hope.
“My response to him was, ‘Dad I’ve got to get ready for school’.
“I really wish that I’d just been that little bit older to understand.”
The family hope the programme will raise awareness of mental health issues.
Kingdom of Us will receive its premiere at the London Film Festival and will be available to watch on Netflix from October 13.
If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, please call the Samaritans on (free) 116123 or 020 7734 2800.
Family who lost their dad to suicide release new heartbreaking Netflix documentary