Talks raise awareness of teen suicide
4th January 2016 11:20am - Return to press releases
The father of a teenager who took his own life has spoken to students at East Riding College about depression and suicide in young people.
Dennis Graham, whose 17-year-old son, Matthew, died in 2010, spoke to nine groups across the Beverley and Bridlington campuses.
Mr Graham, 60, of Beverley said: “What I’m saying to the students is, it’s like I’m giving them permission to inform on their friend who doesn’t feel well.
“They are not grassing their friends up. They are caring for their well-being – hopefully the topics we have covered will stay with them.
“The students all sat and listened to everything I said and there were a few questions at the end. They were very attentive.”
Matthew Graham was one of a number of young people in the area who took their own lives within months of each other.
Since then his mum Jan, dad and five older sisters have been involved in raising money and awareness of the teen suicide prevention charity Papyrus, raising more than £5,500.
Mr Graham has also undertaken suicide intervention skills training to learn more about suicide prevention, noticing the signs, suicide first aid and the thought processes of someone who may be at risk.
He has gone on to give talks at a number of schools to make pupils aware of mental illness and what to do if they are suffering or know of someone who is, as well as the reasons behind any of the feelings, such as school, sexuality, home life and exams.
Tracy Underwood, enrichment officer for the College, said: “We have a responsibility to confront the issues that young people face as they grow and, although it is a very difficult subject to address, we need to be open about teen suicide and the associated topic of mental illness.
“The feedback from the students was they felt Dennis covered some really important ground and also that many could relate to the issue of mental illness either in their friends or family.
“Our hope is that they will now be better prepared to help any friends or family, or themselves, if the situation arises in the future.”
For information and resources about teen suicide prevention, go to www.papyrus-uk.org
For more information about East Riding College, go to www.eastridingcollege.ac.uk or call 0345 120 0044.
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