The Martin Gallier suicide prevention project in Wirral helps more than 30,000 people in five years

  • A video report by Granada Reports' Correspondent Mel Barham


A suicide prevention charity set up by a woman whose father took his own life has made more than 30,000 life saving interventions since it started five years ago.

Jessica Gallier's father Martin took his own life seven years ago. She set up The Martin Gallier Project two years after his death, so that people who are struggling can get help.

The charity has grown rapidly since its formation, as many people have struggled with their mental health amid pandemic isolation and the financial pain of the cost-of-living crisis.

The centre Jessica opened in New Ferry on the Wirral was groundbreaking and was the only place offering non clinical suicide intervention on the high street. There are no barriers to access, criteria and no waiting lists.

Martin and Jessica.

Jessica said: "It was a first of its kind and I think in my depths of grief i didn't realise how big that was.

"I knew it was going to be utilised, but I had something in my ear saying that this was going to be a waste of time, this isn't going to work.

"When I look back and think what we've done in five years. It has worked, and the charity has saved thousands of lives."

When Martin Gallier took his life at the age of 55, it was not his first suicide attempt.

After the inquest, Jessica said she thought there had to be a "better way of supporting people in suicidal crisis."

She decided she could keep "banging this drum" to existing services or open her own support charity.

Jessica said: "It's bigger than anything I could have imagined.

"Just to think that something so painful like losing my dad to suicide and to think that there are all those people who are still alive today and their families don't have to go through what we've been through because of that."

The project has helped save thousands of lives. Credit: ITV News

Sarah Armstrong is just one of the thousands whose lives have been saved by the charity.

Her 15-year-old brother took his own life when she was just 14. Years later she too was contemplating suicide. She said: "I definitely don't think I'd be alive without their support.

"I felt stuck in a black hole, I just existed and had no quality of life. No enjoyment in anything.

"Since that period I've had another child that would never have existed and I got married.

"There are huge things have happened because I held on and I fought. I couldn't see the glimmer of hope in the black hole but it did appear."

Sarah now works at the project, helping to save other peoples' lives.

Jessica said: "I get asked a lot about what my dad would think about the project and I still don't know the answer.

"Obviously I believe he would be really proud.

"Ultimately he would be watching thinking perhaps there was another way suicide was not the option for him and perhaps he was a lot more loved than he realised at the time."There are plans for three more Martin Gallier Project sites to open in the North West later this year.


For help and support:

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 HOPELINE247 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.

HOPELINE247 is the charity’s confidential 24 hour 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.

HOPELINE247 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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