3 Dads Walking reach first petition target to get suicide prevention added to school curriculum

Tim, Mike and Andy are currently half way through their walk between all four parliaments, having been to Belfast and Edinburgh.

A petition launched by the 3 Dads walking group to get suicide prevention added to the school curriculum has reached 10,000 signatures in just five days.

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

They are currently midway through a 600-mile walk across the UK to each of the devolved parliaments raising awareness of suicide, and hoping to get the topic spoken about in schools in a safe and age-appropriate way.

The total signatures on the online petition means the government has to respond to the proposal, but the three bereaved parents are hoping to reach 100,000 signatures so the issue can be debated in parliament.

It is the dad's second walking challenge, after the trio raised almost £1 million for the suicide prevention charity Papyrus in their daughter's, Sophie, Beth, and Emily's, memory in 2021.

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."

Beth, Sophie and Emily - who all died by suicide. Their dads have fought to raise awareness ever since. Credit: 3 Dads Walking

In their latest effort the 3 Dads are walking to all four UK parliaments in a bid to get suicide prevention onto the school curriculum.

Writing on the online petition page, the dad's say the want suicide to be spoken about as part of Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE) lessons.

They say: "We want suicide spoken about in schools in a safe and age-appropriate way. Speaking about suicide saves lives

"The Department for Education are conducting a review of the RSHE curriculum; this petition calls on the DfE to include suicide prevention within the statutory guidelines of the new curriculum.

"Suicide is the biggest killer of under-35s in the UK and over 200 school-aged children take their lives each year. Yet suicide is not currently referenced in the school curriculum."Having recently been invited to hear the former Secretary of State’s statement regarding the new 10-year Suicide Prevention Strategy, we were heartened to learn how seriously Government was taking this critical subject, but we feel efforts need to go further if we are to save lives."

The route the 3 Dads are taking Credit: ITV News

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)

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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.

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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.

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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

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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)

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