I’ve been a Police Officer for 27 years in the North East, and have seen a lot of pain and tragedy. I have also been lucky enough that my Division is really proactive in supporting our communities around mental health, suicide prevention and substance use. This definitely made me understand that talking is the single biggest thing people can do to help themselves when their head is full, yet for some reason it is the hardest thing to do.

I was discussing this with my 12-year-old daughter, Megan, having watched Roman Kemp’s documentary together. I think it is really important that mental health isn’t seen as a taboo subject at an early age. I’d explained how I see it like a balloon in a box, and if people would just talk, it could take the pressure out of it, but I couldn’t really figure out how to articulate this message more widely and Megan suggested an animation. We talked it through a little more, and she went off to create something.

She worked away on it and came up with the animation. I was stunned at how well she had portrayed what we had talked about, I couldn’t have asked for better — simple and easy to understand. I think she absolutely nailed it, but more importantly it showed me that she understood our conversation.

My daughter, her friends and her acquaintances have a long road ahead of them, where they will undoubtedly face these same pressures and insecurities (particularly off the back of such a strange year), but it really does fill me with hope that her generation are willing to talk about it.

The following services offer confidential support from trained staff and volunteers. You can talk about anything that is troubling you, no matter how difficult:

  • Call 116 123 to talk to Samaritans, or email jo@samaritans.org. Samaritans are there to listen 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and it’s always free to call from any landline or mobile phone.
  • Call 111 to talk to NHS 24’s mental health hub.
  • Call 0800 83 85 87 to talk to Breathing Space. The service is open 24 hours at weekends (6pm Friday — 6am Monday) and 6pm to 2am on weekdays (Monday — Thursday).
  • Text “SHOUT” to 85258 to contact the Shout Crisis Text Line, text “YM” if you are under 19.

We want to make this the most supportive country in the world. Sign up and let’s be #UnitedToPreventSuicide. https://unitedtopreventsuicide.org.uk/

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