3 Dads Walking launch online petition to get suicide prevention added to school curriculum

Video report by ITV Granada Reports' journalist, Mel Barham, who has been following the 3 Dads on their journey. They reached the North West on Sunday, 18 September.


The 3 Dads Walking have launched an online petition calling for suicide prevention to be made compulsory on the school curriculum.

It comes as the three bereaved parents are midway through a 600-mile walk across the UK.

Andy Airey from Cumbria, Mike Palmer from Greater Manchester and Tim Owen from Norfolk came together after their daughters took their own lives.

It is their second walking challenge, with their key aim to get suicide spoken about in schools in a safe and age-appropriate way.

Mike Palmer said: "Even though people said we made a difference, we realised there was still a job to do. 

"One of the things that really became clear after meeting so many bereaved parents, was our young people aren't really equipped with the life skills to keep them safe in later life."

In Beth, Sophie and Emily's memory, last year they raised almost a million pounds for the suicide prevention charity Papyrus.

All three dads lost their daughters to suicide and have fought to raise awareness ever since

Last year they raised almost walked 300 miles to each of their homes to raise awareness of young suicide.

Mike said: "Bethy, Emily and Sophie had wonderful lives to live, they'd not finished.

"Bethy could've had a wonderful life but to think she fell into despair under our noses its crippling.

He added: "It's the biggest killer and yet no one is talking about it."

They are walking to all four UK parliaments in a bid to get suicide prevention onto the school curriculum.

But it's not quite been the start they were planning. The night before they set off - came the news of the passing of Her Majesty The Queen.

But the 3 Dads felt it was important to continue their awareness walk to help save lives.

Mike said: "We knew when we walked last year we saved lives so we couldn't not do it but we just have to be mindful of how we do it, flags furled, black armbands and we're sure the royal family understand why we are carrying on."

The 3 Dads in London earlier this year Credit: ITV News

So with black armbands and flags furled, they began their walk almost two weeks ago.

They started in Belfast before flying to Edinburgh.

The route the 3 Dads are taking Credit: ITV News

As the Queen's televised funeral took place at Westminster Abbey, the trio stopped at the side of a Lancashire canal to watch the service.

"It just felt like the right thing to do", Tim Owen explained. "If the rest of the nation is stopping, we should stop as well.

"For this hour, it doesn't hurt us at all. We want to pay respects to a lady who has led the nation for that many years - it's the right thing to do."

The 3 aim to continue their mission Credit: ITV News

Day 12 sees them head towards Wigan and every day they find people who want to walk with them.

One of those is Peter Hill who lost his best friend to suicide.

He's since set up a football club called Place 2 Place to help other men struggling with their mental health, but wanted to join up and walk with the three Dads because he agrees that suicide prevention needs to be included in the school curriculum.

"Suicide is not going away," Peter says. "We've got to find a way of educating the next generation. What the three dads are doing, specifically their call to put suicide on the curriculum, is something I really wanted to back."

Mike said: "We are still three ordinary dads. We are heartbroken dads as well. We aren't doing this for any kind of recognition, we are doing it for a reason.

"We absolutely believe in that reason. We believe a lot of these suicides can be avoided."

If you would like to donate to 3 Dads Walking, or track their journey from all four parliaments, visit their website.

They have also now launched an online petition to get suicide awareness added to the school curriculum.

Worried about mental health?

CALM

CALM, or the Campaign Against Living Miserably, runs a free and confidential helpline and webchat – open from 5pm to midnight every day, for anyone who needs to talk about life’s problems.

It also supports those bereaved by suicide, through the Support After Suicide Partnership (SASP).

  • Phone their helpline: 0800 585858 (Daily, 5pm to midnight)

Back to top

Mind

Mind is a mental health charity which promotes the views and needs of people with mental health issues.

It provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem, and campaigns to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.

Back to top

PAPYRUS

For practical, confidential suicide prevention help and advice you can contact PAPYRUS HOPELINEUK on 0800 068 4141, text 07860 039967 or email pat@papyrus-uk.org

Suicide is the biggest killer of young people in the UK. PAPYRUS aims to reduce the number of young people who take their own lives by breaking down the stigma around suicide and equipping people with the skills to recognise and respond to suicidal behaviour.

HOPELINEUK is the charity’s confidential helpline service providing practical advice and support to young people with thoughts of suicide and anyone concerned about a young person who may have thoughts of suicide.

HOPELINEUK is staffed by trained professionals, offering a telephone, text and email service.

Back to top

Samaritans

Samaritans is an organisation offering confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair.

  • Phone 116 123 (a free 24 hour helpline)

  • Email: jo@samaritans.org

Back to top

YoungMinds

YoungMinds is a resource with information on child and adolescent mental health, but also offers services for parents and professionals.

It is the UK’s leading charity fighting for children and young people's mental health, and wants to make sure all young people can get the mental health support they need, when they need it

  • YoungMinds Textline - Text YM to 85258

  • Phone Parents' helpline 0808 802 5544 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am - 4pm)

Back to top