Three Dads' petition to get suicide prevention added to curriculum to be debated in parliament

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

Three dads who are fighting for suicide prevention to be included on the school curriculum have been told their petition - signed by 156,000 people - will be debated in parliament in March.

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

Between September and October 2022, the trio walked more than 600 miles to raise awareness of young suicide, winning widespread support from the public.

They raised more than £1 million for charity and garnered awareness for their petition.


In the latest episode of From the North we ask should suicide prevention be taught in schools?


Suicide is the biggest killer of young people in the UK, and the dads believe the subject should be being discussed in schools.

It is hoped the petition, which will be debated in parliament on 13 March 2023, will mean suicide will spoken about in a safe and age-appropriate way. 

They set out to get 100,000 signatures on the online petition, but have now received more than 156,000 which means that it will be discussed in parliament.

A total of 27 cross-party MPs signed a parliamentary motion to demand action in September 2022 including Rochdale's Tony Lloyd.

But, Conservative MP for Don Valley in Yorkshire, Nick Fletcher, will be leading the debate with a date for the reading soon to follow.

The dads have so far completed two walks to raise awareness, the first in October 2021 where they trekked 300 miles between their homes in Cumbria, Greater Manchester and Norfolk.

Their most recent walk began in Belfast in September 2022, where they walked to the Northern Ireland assembly at Stormont.

A flight to Edinburgh followed, where they continued their walk from the Scottish parliament at Holyrood.

And from there they walked down the country, through the North West and down to the Welsh Assembly at the Senedd, before walking across to London and finishing at Westminster in October.

The trio were also given the Pride of Britain Special Recognition award in October 2022.

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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James’ Place

Suicide prevention centre in Liverpool offering life-saving support to men in suicidal crisis.

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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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