3 Dads Walking pass through Newcastle on 500 mile suicide prevention walk and urge people to ask for help

The ‘Three Dads Walking’ suicide prevention campaigners made an emotive stop in Newcastle on Thursday..

The trio – Andy Airey, Mike Palmer and Tim Owen – all had children die by suicide, and after meeting through “quirks of fate” they banded together to campaign. They are currently walking from Stirling in Scotland to Norwich, linking newly-opened offices of suicide prevention charity Papyrus – and one such office is in Newcastle.

To commemorate their passing through Tyneside, on Wednesday night the Millennium Bridge was lit up in Papyrus’s charity colours, too. The Three Dads’ campaigning and walks, in memory of their daughters Emily, Beth and Sophie, have also highlighted the work of regional charities including Quinn’s Retreat and If U Care Share.

The North East has consistently had the highest suicide rates in England over the past decade. Figures for 2022 showed that 12.8 suicides were registered per 100,000 people in our region, more than the national average (10.7) and not far shy off double the rate in London (7).

Andy told ChronicleLive: “This is our third walk and we’re actually linking together newly opened Papyrus offices. So we started in Sterling. Wednesday, we’re just here at the Newcastle office now on to Leeds and then we’re finishing Norwich on May the 11th”

Three Dads Walking - Tim Owen, Andy Airey and Mike Palmer arrive in Newcastle on their 500 mile suicide prevention walk
Three Dads Walking – Tim Owen, Andy Airey and Mike Palmer arrive in Newcastle on their 500 mile suicide prevention walk

He said that – following the death of his own daughter Sophie at just 29 – he had become involved with national charity Papyrus which works to prevent youth suicide. He said: “They do fantastic work, and after Soph’s funeral I stayed involved.”

This walk will take the trio across 500 miles, and campaigners and charity heroes have joined them on part of the route thus far – in Northumberland, this included Suzanne Howes, who herself is bereaved by suicide and is a trustee of charity Quinn’s Retreat. The route through Northumberland also saw them stop off at the Running Fox in Longframlington.

Andy added: “The one thing that we’ve learned is that suicide is everywhere. It doesn’t discriminate, and it happens in every part of the country. And the only way you can actually prevent suicide is by talking about it, So, we – everybody within society – it’s to our benefit to talk about suicide and suicide prevention, and find out about charities like Papyrus. And there are many others – in this part of the world the stuff that If You Care Share does is fantastic.”

On this year’s walk, officially the Walk of Hope 2024, Andy had messages both for people struggling with mental health or suicidal thoughts themselves, and for society as whole.

Three Dads Walking have taken on three walks to raise support for vital suicide prevention charities
Three Dads Walking have taken on three walks to raise support for vital suicide prevention charities

He added: “For people who are suffering and really struggling in their own mind, the thing to do is not to try and solve all of the world’s problems all of your problems yourself but to each out for help and ask for help. because the only way we can actually save lives is by talking.

“We need to encourage people to find out, and give them, the knowledge, skills and understanding about suicide prevention first. And then when you’re actually in a really bad place, reach out – reach out for help.”

To find out more about the 3 Dads, their fundraising – which has thus far raised more than £1m – and their push to put suicide prevention on the national curriculum, vist their website or social media here.

How to access support if you need it

If this piece has affected you and you want to talk to someone, there are helplines and support groups available, many of them 24/7.

The NHS Choices website lists the following helplines and support networks for people to talk to.

  • Samaritans (116 123 in UK and Ireland) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at jo@samaritans.org.
  • Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.
  • PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
  • Mind (0300 123 3393) is a charity based in England providing advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.
  • Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts.
  • Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying.
  • If U Care Share is a North East suicide awareness and prevention charity which offers a free and confidential text-support service available by texting IUCS to 85258.
  • James’ Place provide free, life-saving treatment for suicidal men, and those identifying as male, in the North East. Men can refer themselves or be referred by a professional including those working in health and community services, or by a friend or family member.

View news Source: https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/3-dads-walking-pass-through-29059690

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