Dad who lost son to suicide shares his experience with students

10th October 2018 5:20pm - Return to press releases

Dad who lost son to suicide shares his experience with students

Dennis Graham visited East Riding College ahead of World Mental Health Day to speak to the students about his own experience and to raise awareness of what support is available.  Dennis lost his son Matt to suicide in 2010 when Matt was only 17.  

Suicide is the main cause of death in young people – both male and female – under 35 in the UK.  Over 200 schoolchildren are lost to suicide each year.  Research shows that with appropriate early intervention and support, suicide by young people can be prevented. 

Dennis said, ”I’m trying to encourage young people to talk, to talk to each other and seek help, for it to be an open subject rather than something that you shy away from.  If somebody says I’m having suicidal thoughts it shouldn’t be something that will empty the room.  People should be saying ‘talk to me, what can I do to help?’  For me that would be an ideal world.

 “I was emotionally out of touch before Matt died, I got involved with Papyrus suicide awareness after he died because I got so upset opening the newspaper and seeing that another young person had lost their life to suicide.  I felt I had to do something and it also gives me an opportunity to talk about Matt in a way that I wouldn’t usually, so if nothing else it’s maybe helping my mental wellbeing too, as I do struggle.”

Dennis' son Matt

Tracy Underwood, Enrichment Officer said, “Dennis’ talks are emotional and powerful.  It’s incredibly valuable for the students to hear from someone directly affected by suicide and we’re very grateful he was able to come along and share his experience to help raise awareness amongst the students of how to seek help for themselves or others.”

The College also invited MIND, NHS Humber Health and Well Being Team and ARK Foundation into the College today for World Mental Health Day.

See Dennis' poem he wrote following his son's death