Wigan woman honours friend with special event for World Suicide Prevention Day

A Wigan woman who set up a mental health organisation in memory of her best friend will host an event to mark World Suicide Prevention Day.

All Ears Mental Health Awareness CIC was founded by Amy Madden, from Bryn, after her friend Aleysha Rothwell died by suicide aged 16 in 2014.

The pair attended St Edmund Arrowsmith Catholic High School in Ashton, before Aleysha relocated to Bolton in year 10.

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Founder and managing director Amy said: “It was quite a normal day until our head of year called an assembly and told us that a girl from my year – who also happened to be one of my best friends – had died the night before. She had killed herself.

All Ears Founder and Managing Director Amy Madden

"I was beside myself with grief.

"I set up All Ears in 2020, just before Covid, so I could keep her memory alive. I wanted to do this full-time after I graduated from Edge Hill University with a degree in counselling and psychotherapy.

"The original idea was to go into high schools to raise awareness for mental health. As Covid hit, we created well-being boxes and offered Zoom meetings.

"As the pandemic was coming to an end we were able to go into not only secondary schools, but also primary schools and do emotional learning and encourage them to speak out.”

Aleysha Rothwell who died by suicide aged 16
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For World Suicide Prevention Day on Saturday, All Ears will host an event at the new woodland hub in the Grand Arcade shopping centre in Wigan, running from 11am to 2pm.

Various organisations from across the borough will come together to host free workshops and showcase their work.

It will feature a display created by pupils from Outwood Academy in Hindley and children from RL Hughes Primary School in Ashton have also got involved.

A portrait of Aleysha and Amy
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Amy said: “There is more affordable help in Wigan for mental health than people think.

"Everyone knows someone who may need help and if we know what’s available, we can point people in that direction.

"I’m bringing different groups in the community together to showcase the work we all do with mental health. Each organisation will show how they can help through things like mindfulness and different therapies. I’ll be offering creativity rock painting and creating a community canvas to bring everyone’s voices together.

"Pupils at Outwood have also created a butterfly of hope which will be used as a photo opportunity to help spread the word

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Amy Madden delivering one of her talks

“I have also asked the year six children RL Hughes Primary to paint well-being rocks for display on Ashton Flower Park. They’ll be painting quotes and kind words onto rocks to form a nice display in our community.

"I will be displaying them for World Suicide Prevention Day and people will have an option to pick a pebble and pass it on, so they will stay there until they’ve been picked up and passed on.

“I always say that All Ears is my promise to Aleysha that her life was not for nothing, and that her memory will stay alive forever through this project.”