On this page are links to recordings of previous events we have hosted during 2021/22:
As part of our ongoing #HopeForLifeUK initiatives for 2021/22, The Jordan Legacy has hosted several hugely successful virtual events, including the launch of our #HopeForLifeUK campaign in January 2021, with more than 350 registered to attend and another 430 for our Design Out Suicide panel (see below) discussion conference.
August 11th 2022 – a presentation and discussion event ‘Let’s Talk About Suicide?!’
Talking openly about suicide and suicide prevention is at the heart of the solution to reducing the number of suicides, but many people and organisations are uncomfortable about having such conversations.
How can we encourage and facilitate open communication around suicide and suicide prevention?
What is considered good practice when talking openly on such a sensitive subject? What are the pitfalls to avoid?
What has your experience been of ‘talking about suicide’?
This event focuses on this crucial topic, sharing what we have learned and inviting you to share what you have learned from ‘talking about suicide’ (or being uncomfortable talking about it!).
Earlier this year, The Jordan Legacy partnered with research agency MEL Research to carry out a survey among a nationally representative sample of 1,500 adults across the UK. We wanted to ask some of the questions that others appear reluctant to ask (including how many people have had suicidal thoughts), and to find out more about the experiences, knowledge and views of a cross-section of UK adults.
We will share other results from this survey at the event on 11 August. Some may surprise you, some may confirm what you knew already or suspected. All will provide food for thought, and will help foster further (open) conversations.
Recording here – you can watch the entire 90-minute presentation and discussion by clicking here.
March 29th 2022 – a live panel discussion event – ‘Tackling the mental health & suicide crisis among children & young people’
With more than 200 school children losing their lives to suicide each year, this live discussion panel, discussed a range of issues relating to children’s mental health and ask the question, why are so many young people taking their own lives?!
Below, are links to a recordings of the 2 panel group discussions
December 1st 2021 – To view recordings of our inspiring #HopeForLife Conference held in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, please click here
Thursday September 30th 2021 – Creating Psychologically Safer Workplaces
A discussion panel event to explore the role companies should play in implementing effective employee wellbeing strategies and creating psychology safer workplaces for their employees to thrive in.
The panels were asked to consider two key questions; what does the term psychologically safe workplace actually mean and what is the problem that needs solving.
A recording of the discussion with Panel Group 1 can be found via this link
A recording of the discussion with Panel Group 2 can be found via this link
Friday June 25th 2021 – Life Saving Systems (Digital + Human) to Prevent Suicide
This event, with short talks and panel discussion, explored the positive and hopeful aspects of digital communications and technological developments in transforming suicide prevention, enabling early identification and intervention, and improving mental well-being. Recording available here
Jordan’s Space is a 60-minute online radio show and every fortnight, on Thursday evenings from 7pm (GMT), you can join Steve Phillip, alongside members of The Jordan Legacy team, together with some very special guests, for an hour of conversation, music and above all hope.
This show does discuss themes of suicide and while listening, we’d encourage you to take care of yourself by stepping away from the show at any point, should you find the content triggering or uncomfortable to listen to. For support, please visit our website’s Help resources.
Links to all shows will be saved here until the launch of our new website in the autumn of 2022
Show 1 – ‘BatonOfHopeUK 2023’ was first broadcast on 7th July 2022
Our first show talks about the build up to BatonOfHopeUK 2023 and features an interview with former BBC and Sky journalist and reporter, Mike McCarthy. Mike lost his 31 year old son, Ross, to suicide in February 2021. In this episode of Jordan’s space he shares his experience of grief and how he now channels this into helping prevent suicides through a number of initiatives, include TalkClub and BatonOfHopeUK. You can listen to the full show by clicking this link to Yowah Radio’s podbean channel.
Show 2 – ‘Life after loss’ was first broadcast on 21st July 2022
Dr Sangeeta Mahajan is a Consultant Anaesthetist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, she also describes herself as a mental health activist and educator.
When a consultant anaesthetist tells you that there is no comparison between the level of funding and training provided for mental health compared with physical health and how she was let down by an NHS system she thought would protect her 20 year old son when he fell into a deep depression, then it’s time we all sat up and paid attention.
On October 16th 2014, Sangeeta lost her 20 year old son to suicide. This story is not just about loss, it’s about hope and how Sangeeta was able to reframe what life meant to her. Listen as she explains how finding how to have more compassion for herself led to her becoming, in her view, a better and more compassionate doctor.
Listen to the entire show below, including music tracks, which mean something special to our guest and to Jordan’s family and loved ones.
Listen to Show 2 via Yowah Radio’s Podbean channel – this version is the interview only and no music
Show 3 – ‘Burnout and the link with suicide ‘ was first broadcast on Thursday 4th August 2022
For show 3, we’re talking with, Dr Sonia Hutton-Taylor. In 1990 Sonia set up Medical Forum an independent career guidance facility for doctors, following on from her early career as an ophthalmologist. Since then, she has worked at the junction of career guidance, occupational health and medical education. She describes the wellbeing – burnout continuum as her passion and has worked with many professionals who are experiencing varying degrees of burnout.
During the show we discuss what is burnout, who is most likely to experience it and how would you know if you were experiencing burnout?
Listen to the entire show below, including music tracks, which mean something special to our guest and to Jordan’s family and loved ones.
Listen to Show 3 via Yowah Radio’s Podbean channel – this version is the interview only and no music
Imagine you had a Big Idea – an idea so big it made a positive difference for millions of people.
An idea so incredible in fact that, within a very short time, it is clearly saving lives.
To feed into the new national Suicide Prevention Plan, we at The Jordan Legacy want to open up the conversation to find out what you think will prevent us losing around 6500 people to suicide every year in the UK.
Big Ideas are not necessarily new ideas but those likely to have the biggest impact if we invest in them. They might be ideas that have been on the periphery for several years but have not been accepted, included in national plans, and effectively implemented.
In 2012, there was much talk of supporting those bereaved by suicide as a new idea or a big idea to input into the 2012-2017 Suicide Prevention Plan. This illustrates how long it takes to get such ideas ‘into the system’ and also, 10 years on, how much we still need to do to effectively implement such support. Why are families, like my own, often being left to fend for themselves when losing a loved one to suicide?
Big Ideas are effectively ‘breakthroughs’. They can be new thinking or new approaches. They can be ways of better implementing what we know ‘works’ in saving lives. They can be a breakthrough in terms of being accepted by ‘the establishment’ so this is then reflected in research, development, suicide prevention plans and suicide prevention activity.
Over the past two years, The Jordan Legacy has listened with an open mind to all ideas for more impact in saving lives and we have run events and discussion panels around these ideas. These include Designing Out Suicide initiatives and Zero Suicide Plans, Workplace Wellbeing, Creating Safe Spaces, integrated Digital + Human support, and Suicide Prevention via Schools. Again, these might not be completely new ideas but they are potentially Big Ideas if more widely adopted.
In the past 5 years, the topic of ‘online harm’ has become high on the agenda and led to a number of actions including the Online Harms Bill. However, the potentially positive benefits of digital technology applications still struggle to get on the agenda so don’t get the research & development investment they need as potential breakthroughs.
We often hear that having ‘a big conversation’ – a high profile national conversation to take awareness to a new level and prompt more people to contribute to suicide prevention – is itself a Big Idea. Indeed, we think the Government should have a dedicated high profile public engagement process to shape the Suicide Prevention Plan and avoid it getting lost within the broader public consultation on the Mental Health Plan.
The Jordan Legacy is also heavily involved in planning the #BatonOfHopeUK initiative so we can all have that ‘big conversation’.
It’s important for us to keep highlighting Big Ideas at all times but especially so now as the Government is developing the new national Suicide Prevention Plan.
It’s also crucial that we aim high. All of those we interact with regularly share the belief that most suicides are preventable so we surely must be aiming to prevent most suicides and not tolerating this unacceptably high figure of around 6500 suicides per year – which we also knows has a huge ripple effect.
So please let us know what you think are the Big Ideas, and let’s open up that ‘big conversation’! Please leave a comment on this post.
At The Jordan Legacy, we are really pleased to announce that we are now able to provide Suicide First Aid Courses, delivered by our partner, Steve Carr of MindCanyon.
Most people thinking of suicide do not want their lives to end, they want the pain to stop, therefore….
Most people thinking about suicide let others know, consciously or unconsciously.
Therefore if we knew the signs and how to respond…
Suicide has to be one of the most preventable deaths.
Talking or even listening to somebody talk about suicide can be scary, and sadly many folk think that asking a person if they’re thinking about suicide it may plant the idea in their head, this is a myth.
Join Steve Carr on the 3rd and 4th of September (2-day course) 2022, online, on the next open course where he will teach the theory and practice of suicide intervention skills that can be applied in any professional or personal setting, captured in a one-day event accredited by City and Guilds of London.
This is the UK’s only externally accredited suicide prevention programme, on the Regulated Qualification Framework, this is the UK’s National Qualification in Suicide Prevention.
SFAUSI is comprised of 4 parts, each approximately 90 minutes duration.
The programme teaches and practices the skills and knowledge needed to identify someone who may be thinking about suicide and competently intervene to help create suicide safety as a first-aid approach.
Methods Of Learning:
This is a 6 -hour (over 2 days) online course, using tutor-facilitated class-based learning, tutor-led group work and audio-visual presentations.
Who should attend?
Multi-sector practitioners including health, housing, social care, education, criminal justice, call centre operators, private, voluntary and public sector workers and community member.
I wanted to share with you some of the good things that are happening, but mostly because of where my head was a month ago…
December and January had seen most of my work cancelled due to the newest variant. Then, I actually caught COVID-19, which meant I was unable to complete the big project I was managing.
I’m a one-man band at Make it MATTer and was too unwell to fix everything on my own. I lost a lot of money, but perhaps even worse was a strange knock on my confidence and self-esteem.
I started the year with no prospective work in the pipeline and zero income coming in – you can understand why one would be anxious.
I thought about getting a normal job – I spent each day filling out application forms (unnecessarily long in most cases) to secure something. I was getting one or two interviews but nothing really worked out and I’ve got to say it was pretty soul-destroying.
I was also weirdly nervous about ‘getting’ an offer of a job that I wouldn’t be as passionate about. Worrying I might get stuck.
I pretty happy with my freelance life and the people I get to collaborate with and the opportunities I’m lucky to have (when it’s going well).
Things got worse:
1) An important relationship ended abruptly with no explanation.
2) Then a few days later, a friend of mine took his own life.
In fact, he was the second close male friend to do so within a year.
Now, you should know something about me at this point…
I’ve always wanted to go to Tuscany. It is one of two places in the world that I have longed to visit most of my adult life. It gave me my love of the sunflower, which was one of the main themes of my wedding, and is also the setting of ‘Under The Tuscan Sun’ – a film I enjoyed watching repeatedly in my early twenties about a woman going through a divorce and beginning a new chapter.
Well, I am going through the same thing as her right now.
Divorce is enough to make anyone feel a bit shit (Sorry for swearing Dad) and with the added financial and now personal losses upon me I felt close to rock bottom.
Mentally and emotionally – I felt like I was back at square one of my break-up two years ago – I’d already come so far!
I needed to act fast before I lost the plot. I had to do a lot of soul searching, a few private tears and lots of prayer.
What was I going to do to get out of this funk?
I focused on doing everything in my power to not worry and basically put action into the areas that I CAN do something about. By choosing that way, I instantly felt calmer and more in control.
Whether that be protecting my health with exercise, playing the piano, reading the psalms, long dog walks (with a good podcast in my ears) such as Dr Chatterjee‘s ‘Feel Better Live More’ Series whose podcast incidentally introduced me to some amazing speakers.
A big high five to Mel Robbins, whose new book ‘The High 5 Habit’ I completed last week on Audible which was a total game-changer.
I HIGHly recommend it.
I’ve also just picked up where I left off with another book called ‘The Happiness Trap’ by Dr. Russ Harris in the nick of time too.
Grateful for all their talents and gift to articulate what we feel and how to get through those obstacles.
I also had a social media detox. Nice to be back though now. Things were beginning to look up, but I still didn’t have a job!
All this has led me to do some extra work on myself with a wonderful new connection of mine, Devya Athwa. We hit it off straight away during a recent networking event ‘Circle Networks’ organised by our mutual friend, Dan Skermer.
I was really excited to be joining this event – but in truth, I almost didn’t log on for it. I’d not had a good night sleep in four nights straight and woke up late for it. I was mortified, as anyone will tell you – Mr Punctual, Matt Elson is never late!
My brain was telling me not to bother logging on. “You’re too late”, “Don’t embarrass yourself” etc. So, I just hoped and prayed that if it wasn’t meant to be then God would cause a power surge that would cut off my WiFi and THEN I would know it wasn’t for me!!
Safe to say, I logged on and all was fine, entered the room and blamed my dog for the lateness and that was that. (Sorry Alfie).
I’m so glad I did.
Otherwise, I wouldn’t have crossed paths with Devya who kickstarted the next bit for me confident wise. Dan Skermer, if you’re reading this – now you know the truth too!
I had two further serious setbacks on the job front in week 2 and I felt like giving up.
I closed my laptop – got out of the house, met a mate, and we talked it all over.
We decided to concentrate on the ‘work’ stuff “Let’s get Matt a new job!”.
Within 24 hours, I had an interview on Zoom with her friend who had messaged that day on WhatsApp looking for a freelancer with my exact skill set to start immediately.
I began a two-day trial leading a new project the following day, which has actually extended across three weeks so far and I am absolutely loving it. Oh and guess what – my first pay cheque came in yesterday!
So, this week, I have had my second session with the brilliant Devya, and at the end even we discussed some work that we could potentially do together which was a bit unexpected.
Then, what followed was not one, but two separate enquiries to the office for which I’m now booked.
One of those opportunities is going to take me to a place that I’ve been manifesting for (wait for it) almost twenty years…
Since the most recent death of a friend I’ve reconnected with some people I had lost touch with and have been better at checking in on friends and family – and they have done the same for me.
I’m on one call with someone after my session and I share my good news and hear about his, and then at the end of the call, he books me on a weeks filming job in September…
Him: IN TUSCANY. 🌻
I am going to be under the Tuscan sun; with all the sunflowers, and I can’t quite believe it. Thank you UNIVERSE.
What is most wonderful is that despite the hard times. I got through them and we’re here now in February with all this great stuff happening.
It doesn’t mean it is all going to be easy and I am still going to have to dodge any curveballs that could potentially set me back.
Nothing in life is ever guaranteed, but the weight that has been lifted off my shoulders after a difficult time of mostly temporary setbacks that seemed much bigger at the time is nothing short of a miracle.
I’m actually a lot stronger today too and if anyone asks I am now firmly in a ‘serious relationship’ with myself, for now.
Totally grateful that the universe seems to have positioned this door to me, when just a month ago I thought all doors were closed.
So, if you’re out there now, feeling at a low point in your life, for whatever reason, I hope you see this as a sign that good things are coming to you – but DO talk, know your own worth, reach out, find your people, they are out there somewhere. Maybe I’m one of them.
Someone close to me often talks about ‘aces in places’ and I’m so glad he once informed me that I am an ace in place to him. It’s recently made me look for my own. One by one, they’re showing face.
Thank you, LinkedIn for allowing me to share how I am reclaiming a bit of sun again today.
At the top of this article is an image showing the sky, part of a building, trees and rolling hills. Now, look at the bottom image. We can’t always see the full picture but it doesn’t mean isn’t going to become clear. When the time is right. Keep the faith.
Oh, and check in on that friend you were just thinking about! Do it now.
See you around.
This article is dedicated to the memory of Owen Long and Aaron Kurtis.
“Life offers you a thousand chances, all you’ve got to do is take one”
When Mike McCarthy and Steve Phillip, two fathers, bereaved by suicide, got together with mental health champion Ian McClure and suicide prevention advocate, Paul Vittles, to discuss how they could, collectively, make a real and meaningful impact on preventing suicides, it was always likely that something significant was going to happen! None of them quite expected that their conversation would become potentially one of the biggest suicide awareness initiatives the UK has ever experienced.
It was Mike, who raised the possibility of doing a march, possibly to Downing Street that led to a conversation with the others about what the aim of a march would be? They all agreed that it would need to be non party political but it needed to make a powerful statement if it was truly to make an impact and significantly raise awareness about suicide.
But, it also had to be more than simply raising awareness – this initiative needed to open up the conversation around suicide in a way that would motivate people to want to do something practical and that would make a measurable difference.
Following that first conversation in December 2021, within a matter of weeks, the #BatonOfHopeUK went from concept to vision, to mission, to a plan.
Welcome to BatonOfHope
Mike lost his 31 year old son Ross to suicide in February 2021, following a 10 year battle with depression. Steve also lost his 34 year old son to suicide in December 2019, following a long period of clinical anxiety and depression.
Suicide is the biggest killer of men, aged 35-49 in the UK, it is also the second biggest killer of young men aged 15-29 in the world. Suicide does not simply effect men of course. More women experience clinical depression and attempt to take their own lives, with female suicide rates the highest in the UK since 2004.
We mustn’t forget our young people either; the modal age for male suicides on our railways (rail network deaths account for 45% of all suicides) is currently 22. Referrals for self-harm in young people is now at the highest levels since the pandemic began and CAMHS is struggling to keep up with number of enquiries they’re receiving.
Both Mike and Steve are motivated by the personal loss of their own sons. Ian and Paul have also had their own lived experience of trauma, mental health and suicide and have worked extensively in the suicide prevention sector.
What is #BatonOfHopeUK?
The initial concept was founded with a clear belief and understanding that most suicides are preventable, a view shared by many others working in the world of suicide prevention;
“Suicide is never inevitable. It is preventable right up to the final moment” – Source: Professor Rory O’Connor
At the end of June 2022, the BatonOfHopeUK will be officially announced as the UK’s biggest ever suicide awareness and prevention event, touring all 4 nations between June 25th and July 8th 2023. We are now looking to speak with individuals and organisations to act as ambassadors for the #BatonOfHopeUK 2023.
The BatonOfHopeUK is a not-for-profit organisation. Its primary purpose is to help achieve a society where suicides are very rare events by raising awareness about suicide and suicide prevention, opening up conversations about suicide and suicide prevention, and encouraging appropriate action.
One of the world’s top trophy designers (and goldsmiths to the Queen) has agreed to design and create a baton that will travel the length and breadth of the UK. A major events management and marketing company is helping to build the #BatonofHopeUK brand and the website, which will go live at the end of June 2022. Our aim is to seek to change the conversation around suicide, smash the stigma, highlight existing support and leave a lasting legacy of practical improvements in the field of suicide prevention.
We also want to communicate just how important (and overlooked) the issue of suicide is. From a “soft” public launch at the end of this month, we aim to reach a crescendo during which the #BatonofHopeUK will tour England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in the Summer of 2023.
Do you share our vision and ambition? Would you like to be an important part of the #BatonOfHopeUK? Could you help spread the word or perhaps help coordinate regional activities? Are there other ways you’re already thinking about, where you could help us make this the nation’s biggest suicide prevention campaign ever? Do you have particular skills, knowledge, contacts, etc that you think might be especially relevant? Together we can bring about real change.
During the next few months, we will be holding a series of presentations, outlining our plans and sending out invitations to those who would like to take part. If you would like to be considered as an ambassador for the #BatonOfHopeUK or support this event in any other way, we will be providing full details when our new website launches by the end of June 2022.
Remember London 2012?
For anyone living in the UK in 2012, the Olympic torch bearing processions were one of the highlights of that summer’s games. People flocked to the roadsides or watched on screens, as a white-track suited individual, who had their own special life-story, carried the golden aluminium, triangular torch through their local town or city before handing it on to another torch bearer, dressed in the same white Olympic track suit.
The passing of the Olympic torch brought a sense of togetherness and community around the country. It was a symbol of hope and expectation of what could be achieved together for those participating and those watching on from the roadside. The #BatonOfHope will do the same to inspire hope that, collectively, we can move toward a Zero Suicide society where suicides are rare events
“People attempt to take their own life when they feel trapped and there is no way out” ; Professor Rory O’Connor
Please follow the hashtag #BatonOfHopeUK on social media for regular updates. You can also subscribe to The Jordan Legacy website to receive direct updates on the #BatonOfHope and other projects relating to our work in helping prevent suicides.
More information about the #BatonOfHope coming soon.
The Jordan Legacy CIC and Thrive Law have teamed up to work on a joint initiative, which aims to help 100 employees become Mental Health First Aiders during 2021-22.
Next course dates are on a Tuesday and Wednesday and on: September 6th and 7th / November 8th and 9th
Scroll down to book yourself or one of your team onto any of the above course dates
Our aim is to train at least 100 people during 2021 and 2022. In line with The Jordan Legacy and Thrive’s combined mission of making a practical difference, this initiative is not just about training up MHFA’s and then leaving them to fend for themselves, as often, some organisations are unable to provide MHFA’s with the support they need, especially where there are only one or two members of staff being trained.
“Absolutely amazing course. Not only have I developed a massive understanding around mental health and supporting those in a number of situations, I know how to further look after myself and somehow feel mentally refreshed leaving the course.”
This online training seeks to deliver:
Access to high quality, certified MHFA training
A supportive community of MHFAs
Post training follow up and support for all MHFAs through this scheme
Seeks to deliver a strong MHFA community peer group, to continually improve their skills and knowledge whilst learning from one another
Normally the cost of the MFHA training alone is £300 plus VAT (£360). The good news is, that we are able to provide the MHFA training, together with the additional community and peer to peer support for £399 inclusive of VAT (for an additional £39 you know you or your MHFA staff will receive extra support following on from thee training)
“All of my course mates were so vital to my learning, we all had such unique experiences, everyone was so lovely. The knowledge I have is to important and I am proud to know I could deal with a situation should it arise to the best of my ability.”
About this course
Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a training course which teaches people how to identify, understand and help someone who may be experiencing a mental health issue.
MHFA won’t teach you to be a therapist, but it will teach you to listen, reassure and respond, even in a crisis – and even potentially stop a crisis from happening.
You’ll learn to recognise warning signs of mental ill health, and develop the skills and confidence to approach and support someone while keeping yourself safe.
You’ll also learn how to empower someone to access the support they might need for recovery or successful management of symptoms. This could include self-help books or websites, accessing therapy services through their GP, their school or place of work, online self-referral, support groups, and more.
What’s more, you’ll gain an understanding of how to support positive wellbeing and tackle stigma in the world around you. This online course qualifies you as a Mental Health First Aider, giving you:
An in-depth understanding of mental health and the factors that can affect wellbeing
Practical skills to spot the triggers and signs of mental health issues
Confidence to step in, reassure and support a person in distress
Enhanced interpersonal skills such as non-judgemental listening
Knowledge to help someone recover their health by guiding them to further support – whether that’s self-help resources, through their employer, the NHS, or a mix
Certification to say you are a Mental Health First Aider
A manual to refer to whenever you need it
A quick reference card for the Mental Health First Aid action plan
A workbook including a helpful toolkit to support your own mental health
“From a learning perspective, I found the material very comprehensive and clear, with easy to remember diagrams and acronyms, which gives me confidence I will be able to apply what I learned going forward even if in a distant future.”
This is an online course delivered through the MHFA England Online Learning Hub
Learning takes place through four live training sessions, spread across two days and includes self-learning activities
Each session is built around a Mental Health First Aid action plan
Next courses date for 2022
July 5th and 6th (Tues-Wed) – sorry, this course has been cancelled
September 6th and 7th (Tues-Wed)
November 8th and 9th (Tues-Wed)
How to book onto this course
Each course is limited in size to the first 14 people to secure their place – course places do fill quickly.
This course is open to anyone and we often have people join who reside outside of the UK. If you are attending the course outside of the UK, kindly note we will require a UK registered address for the learning materials to be posted to you.
Sponsor one of your employees
If you are an employer and you would like to sponsor one or more of your own employees to become a MHFA please click here
Book here to become a mental health first aider
If you would like to become a MHFA please click here
Sponsor someone to become a mental health first aider
Would you like to donate to The Jordan Legacy MHFA100 fund? By donating a minimum of £50 you will be helping us to create a grant fund, which will enable to us support someone to be able to access this course who may otherwise not be able to. To donate click here
To register your interest in attending any of our future course dates or if you have any other questions please message us here.
“To say Tara (our MHFA England trainer) was ‘very good’ is a disservice to her – she deserves ‘excellent’ because of her warm and welcoming approach as well as her expertise as a facilitator; everyone on the course was great to work with for the two days and I can’t recommend enough that people should attend. It felt invaluable and I’ll always remember these skills no matter what setting I’m in. Thank you for everyone involved in making this possible but especially Tara”
GDPR disclaimer – Please be aware that when booking courses via this website, your email address will be shared with the online payments platform Stripe.com and not with any other parties, other than with Mental Health First Aid England
After experiencing a breakdown at work, Steve decided to raise awareness of the issues surrounding mental health and homelessness by completing a challenge to walk from one end of Great Britain to the other. He undertook this challenge whilst he was still in recovery and also homeless himself.
“I did this in the hope it would help reduce the stigma surrounding poor mental health and mental illness, and to demonstrate just how easy it was to lose everything and become homeless when we don’t ask for help.”
Steve walked and ran a total of 1000 miles, documenting his journey along the way by blogging about his experiences, as well sharing his story by video blogging (Vlogging). Creating a Facebook Group called “Mindcanyon”, Steve soon attracted more than 11,000 followers and members.
Steve also attracted the attention of the national media and was interviewed during his challenge by ITV and BBC News channels, including on his way to No.10 Downing Street to visit the then Prime Minister David Cameron, where he hand-delivered a report about his findings on the failings in the mental health system.
Following his 1000 mile challenge, Steve went on to qualify as a Mental Health First Aid and Suicide First Aid Trainer. He now regularly delivers talks to company employees and leaders and is an active mental health advocate on social media, with a specific message about the importance of asking for help, early intervention and taking a more holistic approach to recovery.
Steve also works as an independent mental health trainer and as an associate trainer for mental health charities, including Grassroots and Mind.
The Jordan Legacy is delighted to have Steve partner with us to provide Suicide First Aid Training to individuals and companies.
Suicide First Aid training is one of the most important skills you can learn. We lose one person every 40 seconds, somewhere in the world, to suicide. Suicide kills more men aged 35-49 than any other event, including heart attacks, cancer, diabetes and road traffic accidents.
You can contact Steve for more details about his training below.
In the spring of 2021, Jordan’s father, Steve, met with the team from eezymind to film the story of Jordan’s suicide and the aftermath of that event on December 4th 2019. The video below is the result of that day’s recording.
The story starts with the day Steve received the tragic news about his son’s death and then the days and weeks that followed. From the moment the family walked into Jordan’s home, the following day and what they found there, to the search to try and discover where Jordan had been taken. This film hopefully conveys the terrible ripple effect that bereavement to suicide leaves behind and why it is so important that we find ways to encourage those who are struggling with their mental health to be able to find their voice and ask for help.
Our huge thanks to the team at eezymind for their kindness and consideration in making this film and allowing us to share our story so it might help others. Click here to view further interviews by eezymind on the topic of mental health.
For further information about The Jordan Legacy’s Mission to help prevent suicides, click here. . To learn how you can support our cause, please click here.
On December 1st 2021, more than 130 people filled the Aire Room at the Pavilions of Harrogate in North Yorkshire for The Jordan Legacy’s first ever #HopeForLife (UK) Conference.
This event, which was also live-streamed to audiences on LinkedIn and Facebook, featured remarkable speakers sharing incredible stories of overcoming adversity and finding hope, even when all hope seemed lost at times.
The day also featured a hugely impactful and memorable male theatrical troupe, The Growth House UK, who explored male mental health and toxic masculinity through their powerful monologues and two stunning group performances.
Leeds based singer-songwriter, Melody Reed, provided a fitting backdrop to the conference, with 3 songs written especially for those struggling with their mental health and one specifically for this conference.
The event closed with a summing by founder, Steve Phillip, of what The Jordan Legacy has achieved this year. He also provided a glimpse of what is to come during 2022.. Then, shortly after 4pm, BBC York’s Poet Laureate, Olivia Mulligan, came to the stage to read a poem she had written especially for Jordan’s Life Celebration event in August – the poem is called ‘Stay.’
This 4-minute highlights video will provide you with an idea of why so many people left the conference saying this was a life-changing event for them.
Recordings of all the speaker sessions available below:
Part 1 – Big Ian Donaghy / Jonny Benjamin
Featuring an introduction by Steve Phillip and Paul Vittles, with a message from our Minister for Care and Mental Health, Gillian Keegan. This video will then feature our first two keynote speakers, Big Ian Donaghy and Jonny Benjamin MBE. Click this link to view this part of the conference.
Part 2 – Debbie Rogers / The Growth House / James Ketchell
Our next speaker was the inspirational Debbie Rogers, founder of Sean’s Place in Liverpool, followed by an entertaining and impactful performance from the guys from The Growth House UK. This part of the conference recording ends with adventurer James Ketchell who showed why it’s always important to follow your dreams even when the odds are stacked against you. Watch out for the end of James’ talk as he raises thousands of pounds for The Jordan Legacy in the space of just over 5 minutes!! Click this link to watch this part of the conference.
Part 3 – Tanya Marwaha / Jonathan Gabay
This part of the conference starts with a wonderful musical interlude provided by Leeds based singer-songwriter Melody Reed, before moving on to some more messages of best wishes from several more supporters of The Jordan Legacy, including Country Music Artist Abby Miller and others such as Harry Bliss from Champion Health and Coronation Street Actress and Manager at Seed Eating Disorders Charity, Gemma Oaten, plus some other individuals and organisations who are doing amazing work in the mental health and suicide prevention sector.
The conference continued with a powerful talk by 20 year old Tanya Marwaha, founder of Championing Youth Minds, before concluding with Jonathan Gabay, who shared his experience of attempting suicide and the current mental health system. Click this link to watch this part of the conference.
Part 4 – Shona Hirons / The Growth House
As we move toward the latter stages of the day, Part 4 of our #HopeForLife Conference highlights includes a talk on overcoming several personal traumas from Shona Hirons, followed by more video messages from some more friends of The Jordan Legacy and mental health advocates. This part of the highlights recording also includes the second session from those amazing guys at The Growth House. Click this link to watch this part of the conference.
Part 5 – Steve Phillip / Olivia Mulligan / Melody Reed
In this closing section of the conference, founder of The Jordan Legacy, Steve Phillip, reflects on the past year and more and the accomplishments made by The Jordan Legacy and talks about his hopes and plans for the organisations future. The conference ends with a beautiful reading of poem called Stay, written especially by poet Olivia Mulligan, followed by one final song from Melody Reed. Click this link to watch this part of the conference.
Our line-up of speakers for #HopeForLife included:
Having spotted James on BBC Breakfast news, hurtling around the skies with BBC sports reporter, Mike Bushell, on the back of his gyrocopter and after hearing his story, we thought he’d be a great speaker to provide inspiration to all those attending our first #HopeForLife Conference.
James is a record breaking aviator, adventurer, speaker and scouting ambassador and on 1st February 2014, he became the first and only person to have rowed across the Atlantic Ocean, successfully summit Mount Everest and cycle 18,000 miles around the world, in what the media dubbed ‘The Ultimate Triathlon’. He is also known for his record breaking circumnavigation of the globe in a gyrocopter to inspire a million young people in classrooms over the world to pursue their own goals and dreams.
Jonny is an award-winning mental health campaigner, film producer, public speaker, writer and vlogger. His 2014 social media campaign with Rethink Mental Illness to #findMike, the man who talked him out of jumping off a bridge when he was suicidal, went viral and led to Jonny becoming a prominent spokesperson on the subject of suicide, as well as publishing his book The Stranger on the Bridge: My Journey from Suicidal Despair to Hope
Jonny’s The Book of Hopehas brought together 101 contributors and celebrities from the fields of mental health, sports and wellbeing to share their experiences with poor mental health and importantly, what helps them when they are feeling low and what gives them hope.
A successful lawyer for more than 20 years, Shona was brought up to believe that the harder you worked and the more money you earned, the more successful you were. However, constant 80-hour weeks, led to exhaustion and burnout and eventually she collapsed and had a complete breakdown.
Shona’s breakdown would be more than enough for most people to cope with but within a few short years, she experienced 2 horrific cycling accidents, one of which placed her in an induced coma for 2 weeks and then she had major facial reconstructive surgery.
Her relationship with her husband (and carer) broke down and her injuries meant she could no longer continue her career as a lawyer. One night, she hit rock bottom and she felt the world would be a far better place without her in it. This is just part of Shona’s incredible story. Listen to Shona share her journey and how she rebuilt her life and career and is now working with businesses and Senior Execs to avoid and recover from burnout – Shona’s story will give you hope.
Jonathan Gabay is the founder and presenter of the popular global podcast, Thought and Leaders.
He is a staunch advocate for mental health issues affecting sufferers and their families.
Many of Jonathan’s podcasts (Which support and promote the Jordan Legacy) feature interviews with suicide prevention spokespeople, including Steve Phillip and Jonny Benjamin MBE. Jonathan has also interviewed numerous high profile spokespeople such as the British journalist, author, strategist and broadcaster Alastair Campbell and well known British Psychologist Professor Cary Cooper.
As someone who has first-hand experience of dealing with the NHS mental health system, Jonathan’s accounts of his experiences are powerful, heartfelt, and eye-opening.
Jonathan is regularly invited by the world’s media including BBC, CNN and many more, to discuss the psychological implications of the biggest business, royal, government and celebrity news stories and his observation of life is authentic, entertaining, useful, and ultimately motivating.
He has written 15 books – many studied at university level.
Our conference opener and the most passionate of keynote speakers, Big Ian will make you smile, laugh and cry but above all, he’ll inspire and empower you to want to make a difference. He is more than a speaker, he is also a doer. He works tirelessly to raise dementia awareness and combat loneliness, always focusing on the individual, drawing on his experience of 20 years teaching young people with learning difficulties, and nearly 10 years in the world of care.
Big Ian is also a successful author of books, including A Pocketful of Kindness (featuring Jordan’s story), The Missing Peace and Dear Dementia.
In July 2019, Debbie lost her brother Sean to suicide – he was 34 years old. In the days leading up to his death, Debbie desperately tried to alert local health services about her concerns for his safety, without any adequate response. On that morning, she arrived at Sean’s home and instinctively knew her brother was gone. Debbie contacted the police who arrived and confirmed her worst fears.
From the trauma and grief of losing Sean, Debbie has become an incredible beacon of hope for men who are struggling with their mental health and feeling lonely and isolated. On January 30th 2020 Sean’s Place opened. Nominated for many awards since, Debbie and her team welcome men from across Sefton and Liverpool City Region to Sean’s Place, providing them with a vast range of engaging activities and sessions specifically identified to improve confidence and self-esteem for men whilst reducing symptoms of depression, stress and anxiety. Debbie’s sheer passion and enthusiasm will blow you away!
The Growth House are a live performance and film production company that create socially-conscious art to uplift, empower and entertain audiences in the North of England. By blending movement, song, improvisation and audience interaction, they devise experimental live events that are part show, part protest and part party.
In 2018,The Growth House started A Manhood Project (A-M-P) to interrogate modern masculinity, loneliness and men’s mental health through films, music, poetry and theatre. A Manhood Project’s goal is to create work that promotes positive masculinity, educates communities and models some positive coping mechanisms to alleviate the futility of male suicide.
Tanya is a university student who decided to pioneer youth mental health awareness during the pandemic from her bedroom. From a young age, Tanya struggled with her mental health as a result of developing long-term health conditions. Navigating mental health support as a young female in the South Asian community was a challenge due to the stigma and superstitions attached to mental health.
In March 2021 and despite receiving no funding or formal support, Tanya set up a youth-led non-profit organisation Championing Youth Minds. Championing Youth Minds has been providing free online resources, workshops and a safe space to over 400 young people across the UK and internationally. This summer Tanya launched a free 10 week virtual workshop program, open to all young people to both attend and host, to educate about mental wellbeing strategies.
Championing Youth Minds aims to bridge the gaps in our education system surrounding mental health education and shine a light on the topics that affect us young people today.
The reason why we’re all here at the #HopeForLife Conference, Steve will tell his story, from the moment he received the call about Jordan’s suicide and the weeks of trauma that followed and why he chose to share Jordan’s story so publicly just a few weeks later.
Steve will share how one article on LinkedIn catapulted him into a world, which at first he wasn’t prepared for and how in the weeks and months that followed, he came to create The Jordan Legacy, which has already made a difference to many lives in a short period of time and has led to him being invited to speak to many groups and organisations, including Government departments such as The Cabinet Office, The Department of Health & Social Care, the Home Office and the MoD.
Steve will end the conference with his message of hope for the future.
Leeds based singer and musician, Melody, will be performing throughout the day, including this beautiful rendition of ‘But we do‘, a song she wrote to support those struggling with their mental health. It was comedian, Jason Manford, who inspired Melody to write this song! “We’d been to see him the night before and he opened up about his struggles with mental health! It was so emotional & inspiring I just had to write. Writing for me is a way of expressing and I feel I write better for other people for some reason. A lot of people I know suffer with mental health problems, so I wanted to help them by sharing a song that showed them they weren’t alone and that just because someone might look ok on the outside, it doesn’t mean they are!”
Our Hope for Life branding
Scroll back up a little and take another look at the header image for this page – the words ‘Hope for Life’ are in Jordan’s own handwriting. Jordan’s family looked through birthday cards he’d sent, journals he’d written and even his suicide note, to see if we could find these 3 words and they did.
It was then down to Robyn Benham to work her magic and this is how she approached the task – “The brief for this project was to represent a part of Jordan by using his original writing, whilst creating a professional logo. In order to represent the characteristics shown in Jordan’s writing, I used a calligraphy pen and created a text which kept its handwritten personality. I applied a chalk finish to the motif element in order to maintain the style between both the logo text and symbol.”
“The aim of this logo was to represent the importance behind the people who make up the Jordan Legacy and their inspiring and vital message of Hope for Life.”
The Jordan Legacy is delighted to have partnered with Therapy Centre Services, who are an established Counselling Service and an Organisational Member of the BACP providing a wide range of counselling services and solutions for individuals (adult & children) and employers.
TCS offer online and telephone counselling services for as little £30 (£25 if you reference The Jordan Legacy CIC in the Additional Information section of the referral form). You can refer someone you know or self-refer by following this link.
Their private counselling service provides access to counselling appointments for as long as you need them and the service is not time-limited (they do not limit clients to 6-8 sessions) like many Charities or free counselling services.
Therapy Centre Services aim to offer affordable and accessible counselling services to people presenting with any presenting issue, either personal or work related.
The TCS TEAM
The TCS team consists of Counsellors in Training and Qualified Counsellors who provide clients with a safe and confidential place for them to explore their thoughts, and feelings which may be causing distress or difficulty.
They offer a non-judgemental space for all client and all of their team work in accordance with the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy’s Ethical Framework; BACP’s Ethical Framework
TCS counsellors use a variety of counselling approaches to suit the individual needs of the client (Integrative Counselling, Person Centred Counselling, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Solution Focussed Therapy, EFT and more).
Should you specifically want to work with a Qualified Counsellor please advise this at the initial contact. All of the team though, are trained to a high level of competency to practice with Therapy Centre Services.
Full details about Therapy Centre Services can be found on their website here
Educated at Durham and Newcastle Universities, Dick has been an English teacher, rugby coach and, for almost 23 years, a headteacher. In September 2011, Dick’s 3rd son, Barney, took his own life.
Since losing Barney to suicide, Dick has spoken at over 350 schools, businesses, universities and conferences around the world about his passion for the emotional and mental health of young people.
In 2012 he became an instructor for Mental Health First Aid, a trainer of the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust and attended an ASIST course focusing on suicide intervention. Dick has appeared on BBC Breakfast, ITN News, BBC Radio 5 Live and numerous local radio stations and gave a TEDx talk in 2015 and a Head talk in 2018.
Dick provides talks to teachers, young people and parents and also to businesses cover a range of inter-related topics such as:
Grief and loss
Teenage malaise or emerging mental ill-health?
Tips for coping with your adolescent
Tips for your adolescent coping with you!
Is your business mentally healthy?
Each talk is tailored to the profile, needs and style of the audience. He also offers to review a school’s provision, its policies and its approach and to make suggestions for the future with a view to becoming a mentally healthier school.
Youth Mental Health First Aid
Dick offers the Youth Mental Health Champions Course to individual schools or organisations, or to groups of schools. Youth MHFA is an internationally recognised training programme designed specifically for people who teach, work, live with or care for young people.
The training provides information, tools and techniques to promote a young person’s mental and emotional wellbeing and to enable participants to support a young person who might be experiencing mental and emotional distress and will teach you how to:
Spot the early signs of a mental health problem in young people
Feel confident helping a young person experiencing a problem
Provide help on a first aid basis
Help protect a young person who might be at risk of harm
Help prevent a mental health illness from getting worse
Help a young person recover faster
Guide a young person towards the right support
Reduce the stigma of mental health problems
The Youth MHFA course is accredited by the Open College Network (3 credits at Level 3 on completion of a workbook) and can be delivered to between 6 and 16 participants.
Although not a doctor, psychologist, psychiatrist or qualified counsellor, Dick spent many years as a teacher (and over twenty years as a headmaster) – he understands that some young people — and their parents — often find it difficult to take the first step towards finding help. Dick is always happy to chat about the issues involved, or just simply provide a sympathetic, non-judgemental listening ear.
Our partnership with The Jordan Legacy began in May 2021 when we worked together to share Jordan’s story as part of Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 with the main aim of raising awareness and to encourage conversations about mental health.
In the past 12 months, North Yorkshire Police recorded 32,117 incidents where mental health has been a factor – that’s up 543 incidents a month and 6,512 incidents in a year.
Many people would be shocked to hear that a life is also lost through suicide every two hours in the UK. But suicidal thoughts and feelings affect thousands of us every single day, including those of us who work within the emergency services.
Nothing can prepare you for losing a loved one, friend, family member or colleague to suicide. And that’s why it’s so important that we all continue to talk about suicide, end the stigma that surrounds it and encourage conversations around achieving good mental health.
And with that, we are very proud to be working with The Jordan Legacy once again on World Suicide Prevention Day to bring colleagues across both North Yorkshire Police and North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service the first Suicide Prevention and Awareness Conference.
It’s okay not to be okay. Every mental health journey looks different. But remember that you are not alone, and you are loved.
Julija is a qualified Clinical Hypnotherapist, a Mental Health First Aider and a member of the National Council for Hypnotherapy. Importantly, Julija is someone who has overcome significant challenges in her life to create a successful career helping others to deal with whatever life throws at them. Here’s what she has to say about who she is and what she does:
I work by taking a personal approach
Every person is unique and has their own view of the world, influenced by their beliefs, thinking, feelings and behaviour. I build a bridge between you and me that allows change to happen.
Hypnotherapy is about you
I can hear you because I listen. I can understand you because I accept you.
I don’t judge and I can see the uniqueness in you
So we can achieve change by working together to improve your mental health and achieve your full potential
Strengthen your – confidence and build your inner resilience
Take control – of your eating habits, achieve a healthy relationship with food and feel good in your skin
Know your direction – find yourself, have a clear goal and focus on it
Clear your mind from “I can’t” to “I can”
Improve– your well-being and get better nights of sleep
I came to England from Latvia when I was 15, isolated from my friends and having to start life again without being able to speak English and without qualifications. Shortly afterwards my father was killed in the street in Riga.
I have worked hard to overcome these challenges, find my own way and battle my demons. I have always had to battle against the wind. My journey took me to working in healthcare with clients with terminal illnesses and challenging behaviours. I fell in love with making a difference to people’s daily lives and the work rewarded me with an understanding of people and an ability to work with and empathise with people living with difficult circumstances and challenges.
As a Clinical Hypnotherapist I work with businesses and individuals giving people a life jacket for support; a torch to shine a light and find the way and a gear stick to help change gear and change direction.
I absolutely love spending times outdoors connecting with nature, for me it is like escaping with my best friend. I am active and enjoy group walking, running, tennis and of course a bit of chill with yoga. I am drawn to handmade art and crafts where you can see passion and soul. I love my life and food to be full of flavours and variety. I enjoy movies that are inspiring and show people’s resilience; one of my favourites is Shawshank Redemption.
My favourite Quotes;
“change your life by changing your outlook on life”
“live your life with joy not as if it’s a chore”
Hypnotherapy is my passion. I bring my experiences and skills together
to help you to achieve your desired change.
Get in touch every step you make is already a change.
DSC Chartered Accountants has been supporting Yorkshire businesses for over 50 years, with offices in Harrogate, Leeds and Skipton.
Founder of The Jordan Legacy, Steve Phillip, has been a client of DSC since 2009 – they supported his Linked2Success consultancy practice with financial planning and annual accounting for over 11 years.
Following Jordan’s death, Steve wound up his consultant and training business to focus full-time on running The Jordan Legacy CIC and it was during a conversation with Accountant, Janet Corbridge, about whether DSC would take on the management of accounts for The Legacy, that Janet not only said yes but that there would be no fees to pay!
DSC has made a wonderful commitment to supporting our work at The Jordan Legacy and is another example of how charities and businesses can come together for the wellbeing of communities.
DSC take time to get to know their clients and their businesses and can help them with complex business decisions, finances and growth. Whatever the size of your business, and whatever your ambitions, their experienced team will take care of everything from payroll, bookkeeping and year end accounts to financial planning, audit, and tax. DSC will also you maximise your wealth through investments and efficient tax planning.
In 2018, a popular musician, known as Avicii, killed himself. At that time I too was suicidal.
I was so envious.
He’d achieved that sweet release that I had both craved, and fought against daily.
I wanted to not exist so badly, and yet Avicii’s death actually opened the door to my staying alive. I chose to think that I had taken my own life on the same day as him, and each day I would reflect on what I would have missed had that been so.
At first it didn’t feel as if I had missed anything, but then, day by day, I noticed and tallied a hug from my children, a sunny day outside, the smell of dinner cooking, the sound of laughter. Tiny moments in the scheme of things, yet I was thankful for them.
Most days I began to see more tiny pleasures, and they helped to push away the darkness that had enveloped me. I no longer wanted to die. This virtuous spiral began to grow, assisted by improved medication, and weekly therapy.
The third anniversary of Avicii’s death was a few days ago. I paused to reflect when I saw a news article about him the other day. I’ve stayed alive despite everything just over 3 years!
I also felt a profound sadness for Avicii, he may have got the peace he wanted, but now the price of that peace seems to me to be too high to pay.
I didn’t know three years ago that I would start to recover, even a year ago it was looking very shaky, I so very nearly took my own life. There is so much I would have missed.
This post was taken from the blogging and community website Moodscape and written by one of its members. The original posting can be found here
Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog.
The image of Avicii is courtesy of Variety publication and it’s article relating to Avicii’s death which can be viewed here.
Suicide. A big, loud, noisy and inexorable elephant in the room.
The biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK – a trend seen across all counties – and over 800,000 global suicides every year. It is also on the rise across women and accounts for approaching 7,000 deaths in the UK annually. It is also sadly likely underreported due to issues of certification on death. Moreover, one in five people have considered suicide or had suicidal thoughts in their life. And let’s be clear: suicide and self-harm are not just mental health problems themselves, but they are linked with mental distress. In short, we have another pandemic: it is called suicide. And sadly, we have been putting the societal head in the sand and acting out Professor Einstein’s definition of insanity pretty much ever since The Garden of Eden: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Indeed, historical analysis shows this human pandemic has been ongoing for centuries and been hidden, incorrectly reported and tucked under the world’s fickle carpet.
So when Piers Morgan recently chose to vituperate Megan Markle over her comments of having suffered suicidal thoughts, a big, clear red line was crossed. Why? One simple, thumping reason. Because in doing so, and seemingly with copious amounts of roast beef against the subject, Morgan traduced the issue of suicide and the importance of people speaking up, speaking out and critically seeking help. Regardless of Morgan’s motives, for such a supposedly experienced communicator and “comms man”, his misplaced and inane remarks grimly mangled personal toxicity between himself and a former friend, and the truly vital imperative of suicide, awareness and sending a message of “it’s okay not to be okay” and “we are all in this together”. There was nothing clever or valid about his remarks, but that is the problem when vile and bile seemingly lead the way. That is unacceptable, abominable and beyond reprehensible. You could say it was a royal cock up, but alas it appeared much more calculated. That is even more disturbing.In the face of a global suicide pandemic and indeed a global Covid-19 pandemic, which is also delivering its own mental health sequelae and a wide range of complications, doing anything that might deter anyone from speaking up and getting help is catastrophic. It was Sir Steve Redgrave who once said, do whatever you need “to make the boat go faster” even if that means changing your pants to gain an extra one hundredth of second. That might be the difference between bagging gold or settling for silver. Morgan’s comments only serve to make the boat go slower and, for those vulnerable, distressed and confused, enough to reinforce regressive thoughts that “no one understands” so as to capsize or submerge the boat with an ocean of withdrawal, embarrassment and reservation. The only waves and ripples we should be seeking to splash around are those of positivity, acceptance, openness and conveying there is always a way and never be ashamed or think there is no way forward. Speaking up matters. Talking about how you feel is brave and a sign of leadership. Like Sir Winston Churchill once said, no virtue has any meaning without courage and courage and virtue is embodied in openness, awareness and togetherness.
This critical issue, and moreover for vulnerable people experiencing a private hell, a range of mental health challenges or a personal torment, is way more important than Morgan’s need to once again rashly hoy public polemic around like superficial confetti at a wedding party. If you chose to park your tank on the lawn of mental health, my word you need to do it with an appropriateness, well thought through articulation and positive perspective; not verbose weapons of vitriol that conflate a personal grudge with the issue in hand. Going into a news studio for an early morning rant with swaggering brazen and gushing hyperbole is far from useful. It is actually rather sad.The purpose of this missive is not to focus in on the veracity of Meghan Markle and create some peep show scorecard of the interview itself. Also, to be clear I am not writing these thoughts as a Prince Harry and Meghan Markle defender or advocate; indeed, there are questions to ponder on their decision to move away from their public duties and a debate that will rumble on. In short, I am distinctly neutral on the Royal Family chasm. Yet when someone talks about suicide or suicidal thoughts, we must always take it seriously, be compassionate and never seek to undermine the issue in hand. It does not matter if you are a Duchess or an ordinary gadgie. It is totally irrelevant. Anyone can be afflicted and affected with mental health challenges at any time and in any way.
Imagine if we said to someone “just get over” cancer. Just imagine the scenes of public opprobrium and condemnation – and rightly so. So why is mental health treated and viewed so differently? What sort of world are we living in if the first thought and reference point is distrust and dismay particularly on an issue this serious?We have laws of the land, enshrined in Magna Carta and towers of parliamentary legislation, that demands the old aphorism of “innocent until proven guilty”. Indeed, lest we forget people have died for these inalienable rights and none of us should forget that fact. Just a couple of summers ago, I travelled to Crete with my Father to retrace my late Grandfather’s (a legend of a man) footsteps in the Second World War given he was stationed on the Greek island for a significant part of the war undertaking signals and intelligence on the front line as a recently trained electrician and “spark man”. To feel first hand the devastation and unspeakable scenes a 19 year old lad must have gone through to protect our precious rights, so vividly exemplified by the lines of graves and tombstones in those mountainous fields, was all too compelling. Why do we jump to conclusions and seek to trash these rights through the grim modern phenomenon of “trial by media”? In other words, Meghan Markle has nothing to prove when discussing her feelings on such a vital issue and certainly should not be assumed “guilty until proven innocent”.
We could focus in on Morgan himself and his own veracity: sacked as editor of the Mirror for printing hoax and fake pictures of British Troops allegedly torturing prisoners of the Iraq War; befriending Donald Trump and then throwing him under the bus following election defeat; egregious comments about Sir Alistair Cook in an apparent campaign over his mercurial friend Kevin Pietersen; and telling people to “man up” over mental health. Morgan has also cited the timing of the interview when Prince Philip was is hospital and damage to the monarchy as a justification for his contentious comments. That is a classic case of caca de cheval as they would say in Paris. Remarkable for a man who has been the editor of papers that have egregiously pursued the Royal Family for years with murky undercover investigations and sensational headlines. I struggle to see how Morgan can now claim personal concern for the Duke of Edinburgh and Her Majesty given past obtrusions and lurid paper copy. And this before we get to Morgan’s doubtful performance at the Levensen Inquiry over phone hacking and bombastic contributions on Britain’s Got Talent. The fact he also supports Arsenal too…only joking.
Yet I wish to waste no more ink on this person’s doubtful attributes yet to say even if Morgan did have a valid point to make on veracity, he is not the one to do it. That would be like the Hunchback of Norte-Dame telling someone to sit up straight.Moreover, let’s be clear. The ongoing problems between Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and the Royal Family are private matters and, despite their public fame and global reach, it is not for us or anyone else to seek to plonk our hooters into their private affairs. How can any of us judge? What do any of us really know? Think to your own family experiences or friendships circles. Nothing tends to be as black and white as the stripes of my beloved Newcastle United – and for those who follow The Toon’s rollercoaster ways will know even the club that sports black and white stripes, the reality is a kaleidoscope of shades of grey and so much more! Similarly, the wisdom and virtue of conducting a full-on interview with Oprah is prima facie questionable and certainly not everyone’s cup of tea. Yet again, none of us know the full nine yards.The fact some have joined in with Morgan’s seditious and wild comments, with social media once again disgracing itself with remarks such as “just toughen up” and “get over it”, shows how big this elephant remains and the roaring sound of a disturbed societal animal. In fact, social media continues to far too frequently be a network of excrement and mudslinging with cyber bullying, abuse and harassment firm fixtures and fittings in the ecosystem of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. We frankly cannot detract from the inescapable fact that social media platforms and Internet providers continue to fail in their ethical responsibilities to regulate their own backyard. The CEOs of our social media companies continue to misplace their backbones somewhere amidst the digital sphere as profits trump doing the right thing and stopping hate crimes. In addition, the tabloid media remains as vicious and voracious as it has ever been bingeing itself on a gluttonous appetite of celebrity guff and solipsistic endeavour. I am all for a free press. It is vital and a cornerstone of a liberal democracy, but any hope the phone hacking disgrace, which we should not forget included the indescribably disgusting hacking of Milly Dowly’s mobile phone, would reset the dial and bring some form of ethics to reporting is nothing but a distant pipe dream. The need for Levenson hangs above the gloomy and grim landscape of parts of our voyeuristic press and the shady methods of those holding the pen and bashing up the keyboard.
Yet there is another elephant not just in the room, but society more generally. Many people feed the beast that is the tabloid press by buying the product whether in paper or electronic form. I have steadfastly refused to buy any tabloid paper since the age of 18 having researched so many cases of defamatory, toxic and grisly misreporting as part of a university assignment for my Politics and Economics degree. I would not even use the tabloid papers in my cat Winston’s litter tray. The press ain’t fit to smoke my boots – or indeed that of many people – and certainly not fit to touch Winston’s majestic paws. Yet despite my own protestations, society does have to hold a mirror up to itself. The press machine supplies and survives – actually prospers big time – because of public demand. Of course, many parts of our media are responsible and professional, with some superb examples of investigatory journalism upholding critical public accountability and asking the tough but critical questions of those in power, but there is no denying the tabloid press is too often a dark stain on our democracy and society. The recent tragedy of Caroline Flack only reinforces my point and particularly on the concentric issues of mental health and suicide.
Thus, Morgan was clearly out of line and transgressed badly, but one person’s polemical remarks is frankly a symptom of a bigger disease. That disease is the way the tabloid press chooses to cover these issues and the ongoing haranguing, badgering and targeting of people, particularly famous people at any cost. I am no fan of the celebrity culture and some celebrities would be high on my lament list, but mental health and suicide are bigger than any press tittle tattle and voyeurism. So alas ladies and gents, another big, thumping and grisly elephant in the room is the tabloid press and any of us who happen to keep feeding it. Time to think. Time for many of us to think about our media diet. Time to enforce the change. For without it, the tragedy won’t be just one press polemicist’s grim remarks but the ongoing pandemic that is people taking their own lives.
With thanks to Sharron Moffatt for being a legend, reviewing and inspiring these sentiments and Steve Phillip for his ongoing encouragement, inspiration and willingness to share.
Stuart Carroll is currently a Expert Policy Adviser in the UK Vaccines Taskforce and is a senior health economist and epidemiologist specialising in infectious diseases, vaccines and public health. Stuart has worked in the area of public policy and has published widely across the public health space in peer review journals and international scientific conferences as well as through political think tanks and Members of Parliament.
Stuart is also a dynamic mental health advocate and impassioned campaigner. He suffers from severe clinical depression and has been open about the need to eradicate stigma, increase awareness and ensure greater prevention and early years education. He is a regular public speaker and also spoken openly about the need for so-called “elephants in the room” to be removed including suicide, workplace mental health, domestic abuse, and corporate bullying and harassment.
Emanating from the North-East, Stuart is a passionate Newcastle United fan, lover of sports and music including songwriter and recording and fronting his band Stuart Carroll’s Black and White Stripes, and lives with his legendary cat Winston who has become world famous for his regular appearances on virtual meetings.
Alice Hendy tragically lost her brother, Josh, on the 25th November 2020 to suicide. Josh was her only sibling, and passed away at just 21 years of age.
Alice’s day job involves working in IT and Cyber Security, with experience working for global financial institutions and insurance firms in the city of London.
After examining Josh’s phone and laptop following his death, Alice found that Josh had been researching techniques to take his own life. The content, available online following a harmful online search, is far too readily available and fails to provide enough of an intervention between a user searching for harmful content and the subsequent display of the search results.
To ensure more help and support is given to individuals in mental health crisis and searching for harmful content online, Alice set up R;pple Suicide Prevention. R;pple addresses the lack of intervention and instead provides an immediate, vibrant display on a user’s device once they have been flagged as searching for online content relating to self-harm or suicide.
R;pple is an online nudge technique which consists of a powerful message of hope, as well as providing a selection of mental health support resources in a range of different communicative options (call, text, webchat, self-help app, pocket resources). Through R;pple, an individual feeling despair and researching harmful content will be urged to instead seek mental health support they deserve and need in a way that works best for them.
Please follow, like and share Alice’s story via her social media pages and newsletter below:
Jodie Hill originally trained as a barrister then cross-qualified as a solicitor.
In 2018 she became the founder and Managing Partner of multi-award winning Thrive Law. Jodie has specialised in employment law throughout her career and has a keen understanding of this complex legal sector, particularly D&I issues, together with all HR related issues.
Jodie also has a passion for helping to encourage understanding around mental health and has a strong desire to help end stigma surrounding the subject, to create a happier, healthier workforce. This passion can be seen in her campaign: #OneMind, to bring mental health to the top of the business agendas, with her campaign being featured by Sky News, the BBC, The Times, The Law Society Gazette, Yorkshire Post and other key media. Jodie’s campaigning has been recognised by many, which recently led to her being shortlisted for several Law Society Excellence awards where she was awarded a fellowship of the Royal Society for Public Health.
In 2019, Jodie also founded Thrive Women – part of her ongoing mission to enable women to ‘Thrive’ in the workplace – and is disrupting the world of Employment Law as a female entrepreneur with her own firm before the age of 30.
Jodie was recently appointed to the Law Society’s Employment Law Committee in 2020 where she will be at the forefront of the changes post Brexit and COVID.
Jodie is frequently asked to comment in national media (TV, radio, print and online) on a range of employment law, mental health and D&I issues.
“What would you do if you won the lottery?” This was the question Jordan’s girlfriend, Charlotte, asked him, a few months before he took his own life. Jordan’s response suprised Charlotte – instead of saying I’d buy a sports car or a fancy house, he said “I’d build a retreat where people, who are struggling with their mental health could come to get well again”
That brief conversation has inspired us at The Jordan Legacy CIC to ensure we make Jordan’s vision become a reality.
On Friday, February 26th, The JordanLegacy held a live panel discussion with insights provided by leaders/founders of organisations who have created or are in the process of planning their own retreat or community safe space.
A retreat or safe space can be a purpose built facility, where people are referred to or somewhere they can simply drop into, if their mental health is suffering, with or without an appointment. Safe spaces can be physical locations or virtual experiences, their purpose is the same – to provide a space for people who feel unwell to come and get well again.
Topics discussed during this event were:
What is a retreat or safe space?
How do retreats and safe spaces make a tangible difference to those struggling with their mental health?
What needs to be considered before embarking on such a project?
How do you develop and implement a plan to create your retreat or safe space?
What are the challenges you might need to anticipate along the way?
What are the rewards if your project is successful?
Our panelists shared some highly emotional and impactful stories about their journey’s and they included:
The recording of this event will appeal to you, if: mental wellbeing is important to you; you are considering creating a retreat or safe space; you are interested in learning more about such safe spaces for your own mental wellbeing or for someone you know.
This was a free event to attend, as is access to the recording, although we would greatly appreciate any level of donation from £1 upwards. We rely on donations to help us continue to work in the suicide prevention sector and help save lives.
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