County Durham charity founder travels 289 miles to No 10
Leading UK mental health groups have signed the letter to the next Prime Minister to ensure suicide prevention is included in the government’s upgrade agenda.
It will be delivered by If U Care Share founder Matthew Smith at the end of its 11-day, 289-mile run from the charity’s offices.
Matthew, who founded If U Care Share with his family after his brother Daniel O’Hare died by suicide, runs from Chester-le-Street to Downing Street to deliver the letter to the new Prime Minister.
He runs in a vest bearing the names of 183 people who have died by suicide, dedicated by families and friends including Daniel, former Newcastle United Gary Speed and Love Island presenter Caroline Flack.
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The letter was signed by representatives of Samaritans, Beyond, Chasing the Stigma, PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide, James’ Place, as well as Matthew Oil on behalf of If U Care Share.
The content will be unveiled during the Prime Minister’s residence, two days before Matthew’s arrival in the capital.
Amateur footballer Matthew began training for his grueling race a year after breaking his Achilles tendon.
The race, sponsored by 13 companies including VH Bio and the Steve Morgan Foundation, is also set to raise more than £25,000 for the charity set up by Matthew and his family following the death of Daniel O’Hare at age 19 years old.
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The charity now provides valuable services to families affected by suicide and mental health workshops for schools, businesses and Premier League, EFL and WSL football academies.
Suicide is the biggest killer of young men in the north of England and Scotland.
The letter, which will be delivered to Downing Street two days after the new Prime Minister takes office, calls on the government to include suicide prevention in the Leveling Up white paper.
According to the Office for National Statistics in England in 2020:
• 4912 suicides have been recorded in England.
• The overall suicide rate was 10.0 per 100,000, down from 10.8 per 100,000 in 2019.
• Male suicide rate was 15.3 per 100,000 compared to female suicide rate of 4.9 per 100,000
• Men aged 45-49 continue to have the highest suicide rate (23.8 per 100,000)
• There is regional variation in suicide rates.
• The North East of England had the highest suicide rate (13.3 per 100,000) in 2020, which had been the case for five of the previous 10 years and saw an increase of 15.7% compared to 2019.
The united group of six mental health and suicide prevention charities, which provide a range of support and services for those affected by mental health and suicide, also offered to meet with the new prime minister.
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Matthew Smith said: ‘Suicide prevention must be part of the government’s leveling program because the North East and North West have the highest suicide rates – and that should be an obvious option in which invest to make things better.
“The letter urges whoever the new Prime Minister is to ensure that suicide prevention and support for those bereaved by suicide is at the heart of and alongside the Leveling Up White Paper – because it is not the case currently.
“It’s been a tough few months training to be ready to race, just a year after I broke my Achilles tendon. And I know there will be tough days and times ahead and ups and downs. low throughout the course.
“But it is an important message that needs to be passed on to our new Prime Minister and the Government and it is an honor to take the letter to Downing Street on behalf of so many.”
Donations can be made to Matthew’s Run Fundraiser at www.bit.ly/matthewsrun or by texting MATTHEW to 70085 to donate £10.
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