'Everybody needs to talk': Friends take on suicide prevention walk in memory of County Durham man

Katie Cole speaks to those raising awareness of male mental health.

The brother of a County Durham man who lost his life to suicide says he wishes he could have talked about how he was feeling as he prepares to embark on a charity challenge in his memory.

Father-of-two Chrissie Martin from from Bolam, near Bishop Auckland, took his own life on Christmas Day in 2023.

His friends are taking part in a gruelling 40 mile walk across the North Yorkshire Moors to help raise awareness of mens mental health and raise money for a local suicide prevention charity.

Chrissie's brother Shaun said: "My brother could talk, could talk like me, but obviously he didn't want to tell what was going on.

"I think 5 minutes of talking to somebody, I don't think I would be here talking to you and I don’t think we would be going through this. It has blown us apart and never in a million years did I think we would be here.

"If you are struggling, you need to talk. Everybody needs to talk. Because I never thought in my wildest, wildest dreams as a family that this would ever, ever happen."

The North East has the highest suicide rates in the country, with men statistically three times more likely to take their own lives than a woman.

Proceeds from the walk will go to County Durham charity I'm George's Mate.

Hillary Rabbet from Bowes set up the charity after her son George attempted to take his own life in June 2023. He remains in a coma.

Proceeds from the walk will go towards I'm George's Mate, a charity set up in the name of George Rabbett-Smith. Credit: Family handout

Hilary says she has been blown away by the support the charity has had.

"She said: It's incredible to live in a community for 20 odd years and not know anybody and something horrific happens and out of the woodwork there are people who come who want to, you know, get to know you and support you.

"That is an absolutely amazing thing. And the fact that people have come from not sort of just the Barnard Castle community but further afield as well."

Where to find help in the North East if you are struggling with your mental health

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