3 Dads meet Prime Minister in hope of suicide prevention being taught in schools

Three dads who are fighting for suicide prevention to be included in the school curriculum have met the Prime Minister.

Mike Palmer from Greater Manchester, along with Andy Airey from Cumbria and Tim Owen from Norfolk, otherwise known as 3 Dads Walking all joined forces after their daughters took their own lives.

Their online petition gained almost 160,000 signatures and MPs debated the issue on Monday 13 March.

But on Tuesday 25 April they were able to meet the Prime Minister to discuss their campaign.

Prior to their visit to Downing Street, they posted an update saying: "We are delighted to be invited to meet him and take our campaign to have age-appropriate suicide prevention included as a compulsory part of the school curriculum to the centre of Government.

“When we meet in Downing Street we will be carrying the names of the many suicide-bereaved families we met along the way and the names of their loved ones who took their own lives.

"Their stories and names are now part of our story.

“We will also carry the support of more than 160,000 people who signed our petition and the tens of thousands who donated more than £1million in our name for the wonderful life-saving charity PAPYRUS.

The 3 Dads Walking met the Prime Minister, along with Neil Hudson MP to discuss getting suicide prevention put on the school curriculum Credit: ITV News

“When we meet the Prime Minister we will also carry the support of the hundreds if not thousands of people who have walked with us, many of them sharing their own desperately sad stories.

"We will carry the support of the many inspirational mental health and suicide prevention charities we have met and which deliver life-saving services.

"We will carry the support of the MPs who debated and supported our proposal to have suicide prevention included in the school curriculum, and those who supported Dr Neil Hudson MP’s Early Day Motion.

"And, most importantly, we will be carrying the memories of our daughters, Sophie, Emily and Beth, so that we can make a difference to future generations and save lives.

“We really hope our message is heard.”

In memory of their daughters, Beth, Sophie, and Emily

In 2022 they walked 600 miles to all four parliaments in a bid to raise awareness for their campaign, they also continued their fundraising for mental health charity Papyrus, Prevention of Young Suicide.

The Chief executive of the charity, Ged Flynn, said: “We need our schools to use developmentally-appropriate language to teach life-skills that will keep our children safe, skills they will pass on to their own children.

“Placing suicide prevention on the curriculum gives a clear signal to teachers and parents that we, as a country, honour children, see them, care about them and want them to be themselves, whatever their academic or technical ability.

“Until then desperate children will continue turning to their peers for help and support.

"It is a national scandal that they are starting conversations in the playground which are not being heard in the classroom.”

Mel Barham speaks to the Three Dads Walking and explores the question Should suicide prevention be taught in schools, in an episode of From the North podcast: