Sponsored walk in memory of Wigan teen on World Mental Health Day

The mother of a Wigan teenager who took his own life is continuing her mission to help eliminate the stigma of suicide on World Mental Health Day.
David Edwards-GillDavid Edwards-Gill
David Edwards-Gill

Lisa Edwards will be hosting a sponsored walk this evening in a bid to raise funds and awareness for Papyrus UK, a national suicide prevention charity which has services in Wigan.

The charity event, which Lisa also organised last year, will set off from The Boar’s Head in Standish in memory of her son David. who died by suicide in October 2016 following a battle with mental health problems. He was 16.

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“When David died, I entered into an abyss of grief, that I still try to cope with every day,” said Lisa.

“A piece of me died with him. My broken heart will never heal and my world will never be the same again.”

But Lisa has used her heartbreak as a driving force to help Papyrus with their work and to get more people talking about how to prevent suicide - the biggest killer of men and women under the age of 35 in the UK.

She said: “We still do not talk about suicide openly like we do other health issues e.g. cancer and heart disease. We are now talking about mental health which is a great step forwards but we still have a long way to go with this. So why do we not talk about suicide? I will tell you why, stigma.

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“Stigma makes people of all ages silent and we need to change this as a matter of urgency. No-one thinks that their lives will be touched by suicide, but the reality is that it can touch any one of us at any time.

“Suicide does not discriminate by gender, race or religion. It takes anyone and unfortunately, I know this from the most painful personal experience.”

Lisa also said the language used when discussing the issue was a very important factor.

She said: “David did not ‘commit’ suicide. Suicide is not a crime. It hasn’t been a ‘crime’ in this country 1961.”

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She hopes the sponsored walk will get people feeling comfortable enough to talk about what is, sadly, a taboo subject for too many people.

The walk will set off from the Boar’s Head pub in Standish at 7pm this evening and will last around one hour.

Anyone is welcome to attend and is encouraged to wear an item of purple clothing - the official colours of World Mental Health Day.

You can donate to the fund-raiser at justgiving.com/fundraising/teamdavidedwardsgill-papyrus.

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Visit the Papyrus website to find out more about their work.

The National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health also provides valuable information about suicide and young peopl.

The Samaritans are available to listen at any time. Ring the free 24/7 helpline on 116123 or 01942 492222