Image shows Paul smiling at the camera and holding an 'I'm a Suicide Prevention Champion' poster.png

Paul's story:

 I'm 54 years old, born in May 1969. I worked in the construction industry being a director of 10 companies, which I had to resign from when my mental health deteriorated.

I have first-hand experience of suicide.

My son Matthew (pictured, below right) took his own life in 2016. The exact date was 2nd November 2016 at Aberdeen House  hall of residences at Manchester University. Even though it’s been a good few years since I lost my son, it’s still very raw and I think about him all the time and feel a lot of guilt.

The last few days before Matthew died, my ex-wife and myself had been texting and trying to contact my son with no success. After a few days, we contacted the university and shortly afterwards we got the devastating news.

We will never forget the banging on my door in the early hours of the morning and as soon as I saw the silhouette of a high-vis yellow jacket through the frosted glass on my door, instantly I knew that something was seriously wrong.

The police officer was standing next to my dad (the first contact the police found). There was a deathly silence that seemed to last forever and as soon as the police officer spoke, I said: ‘Is it Matthew? Is he dead?’.Paul's son Matthew.jpg

I was told that I had to go to Manchester to identify his body the following day.

I keep a picture of my son on the wall behind me so he’s now watching over me and keeping me safe.

I have attempted suicide twice and during my mid-50s, I learned several of my ex-work colleagues had died by suicide.

The foremost reason for wanting to be a suicide prevention champion is my desire to save lives. Suicide is a tragic and preventable outcome of mental health struggles and people like me, who are passionate about suicide prevention, understand the urgency of intervening to support those who are in crisis.

Being a champion means being an advocate for those who feel voiceless, offering hope and help to those who are in their darkest moments.

I’m drawn to suicide prevention because I have personally experienced the devastating effects of suicide. Having navigated the complexities of mental health challenges first-hand, I’m driven to prevent others from enduring similar pain and loss.

My own experiences serve as a powerful motivator to advocate for better support systems and resources for those in need.

I believe I possess a great deal of empathy and compassion for others. I understand that mental health struggles can affect anyone and I’d willingly give unconditional support to anyone who is suffering and connect with anyone who is in crisis.

As a suicide prevention champion, I’m passionate about mental health awareness and ensuring appropriate education being available to everyone. I’m working hard to recognise the importance of breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health illness.

It’s important to have open dialogue about suicide prevention and provide accurate information about resources and help that is available.

The raising of awareness is important to help people recognise warning signs, seek help, support others and most importantly, save lives.

I’m deeply committed to help individuals in crisis and provide them with the resources and care they need. My dedication is fuelled by a genuine desire to make a positive difference to the lives of others.

Pledge: I want to understand the signs in future and now be in the position to help others.