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Life'The grief by no means goes – however speaking about it makes...

‘The grief by no means goes – however speaking about it makes you realise you’re not alone’

Montage of pictures of Beth - one as a teen, one with a puppy and one with her as a younger child with her dad wearing his firefighter uniform

‘ You’ll by no means have put suicide and Beth in the identical sentence. You simply wouldn’t.’ (Image: Equipped)

Enjoyable-loving and gifted Beth Palmer had simply secured a report contract when she took her personal life within the first week of lockdown, in March 2020. 

Described lovingly by her father as being a well-liked, inventive and humorous woman, 17-year-old Beth’s household imagine that she turned misplaced in a ‘fog of despair’ after her school was closed throughout lockdown and all her goals for the close to future have been shattered.  

‘Beth completely beloved school,’ remembers her dad, Mike. ‘She beloved going out, she beloved her pals. She was beginning to gig and was going to festivals. All these items have been cancelled and we expect that the lockdown performed an enormous half. Perhaps Beth was struggling earlier than, however I feel lockdown made her bucket overflow.

‘We’re a detailed household. We did speak. However perhaps not about the proper issues. It breaks my coronary heart that she felt as if she couldn’t come to her mum, to myself, to her sisters, and say that she was struggling.

‘Should you checked out us from the skin, you’d see a well-liked household. We’ve bought a great deal of pals and we all the time had folks spherical, household coming in, tons occurring. We have been buzzing. You’ll by no means have put suicide and Beth in the identical sentence. You simply wouldn’t.’

Beth, who lived together with her household in Sale, was a young person who had all the things to stay for. She had numerous pals, was gifted, assured and well-loved. She was additionally an adept performer; ‘a singer and dancer on stage and all the time a comic off it’, in line with dad, Mike, a firefighter.

‘Shedding Beth to suicide made me really feel as if I had been demolished,’ he tells Metro.co.uk. ‘Devastation is a phrase that springs to thoughts – but it surely’s too small.

‘It’s past perception. In Beth’s case we by no means noticed she was struggling. In hindsight we are able to look again and perhaps decide up clues, in language, in the best way she was performing – however we by no means noticed it developing. Individuals typically say it’s devastating, however it’s past that.’

Beth singing in a bar

Beth had simply secured a report contract when she took her personal life within the first week of lockdown (Image: Equipped)


‘Shedding Beth to suicide made me really feel as if I had been demolished,’ says Mike (Image: Equipped)

Lockdown meant the household couldn’t grieve correctly – Beth’s mom couldn’t even hug her personal mother and father. However whereas solely 9 folks have been permitted at her funeral, the streets have been lined with a whole bunch of people that applauded {the teenager}’s reminiscence. 

Simply over two years on, Mike describes the way it’s a loss that also overwhelms the Palmers. ‘The battle by no means stops. It’s arduous to get off the bed generally,’ he explains. ‘I struggled massively. In some methods, it’s a shock I’m nonetheless right here, however I’m.’ 

In a bid to do one thing to forestall different households from experiencing the identical ache, Mike joined forces with two different bereaved dads, Tim Owen and Andy Airey, who misplaced their daughters Emily and Sophie to suicide. 

Collectively they walked 300 miles final 12 months, in a fundraising effort that took them from Andy’s residence in Cumbria, to Mike’s residence in Higher Manchester and on to Tim’s in Norfolk. 


Mike walked 300 miles for charity final 12 months with two different dads who had misplaced youngsters to suicide (Image: Equipped)

The fathers carried their daughters’ names of their hearts and their images of their arms, and spoke to folks alongside the best way about grief. ‘3 Dads Strolling’, because the trio is now recognized, goals to smash the stigma round suicide, and lift cash for the nationwide charity PAPYRUS Prevention of Younger Suicide.

Mike explains how they’d hoped to boost round £3,000 every however surpassed this spectacularly, to date managing to boost greater than £800,000. They’ve attracted donations from Hollywood stars Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig and footballer Lou Macari, whose personal son Jonathan died by suicide in 1999. 

Due to this money, PAPYRUS’ Hopeline UK will start run 2424-hours a day later this 12 months. Mike believes that had Beth recognized concerning the helpline, she should still be right here. 

‘One of many largest risks to our younger folks is themselves as a result of suicide is the most important killer of beneath 35s within the UK. Why are we not speaking about this?,’ he asks.

The 3 Dads Walking

3 Dads Strolling have raised over £800,000 for PAPYRUS (Image: Equipped)

‘3 Dads Strolling’ promote open, trustworthy and supportive dialog. It’s massively necessary to speak about psychological well being. It’s necessary to speak about suicide. We actually do respect that it’s so arduous generally to speak about how you’re feeling. However we would like younger folks to have these life expertise to have the ability to take care of themselves. 

‘Having conversations about suicide is so arduous, due to all of the stigma. It’s a taboo topic. I get that. Nevertheless it’s so necessary that it’s talked about. And I do imagine if Beth had recognized easy methods to attain out, if she knew the place to go, issues could be very, very totally different.’ 

Mike, together with Andy, may even be taking over Metro.co.uk’s Lifeline problem subsequent month, climbing Scafell Pike at evening to assist increase funds for PAPYRUS. 

Reflecting, Mike believes that Beth was probably affected by melancholy, however he didn’t realise it on the time. Like all youngsters, she may very well be quiet, and spend a variety of time in her room.

PAPYRUS Prevention for Younger Suicide

For sensible, confidential suicide prevention assist and recommendation please contact PAPYRUS HOPELINEUK on 0800 068 4141, textual content 07860 039967 or electronic mail [email protected]

‘We didn’t have these expertise as a household to understand [she was struggling],’ he says. ‘That week she’d been humorous, she’d been laughing. She’d been out within the backyard and going for runs. 

‘Perhaps she was getting unhappier by the week. I’ll all the time blame myself for not noticing, not studying that she was in a foul place. Beth did say “I’m having a foul day”. However did she actually imply to do it? Was it a mix of issues that simply pushed her into it, on the spur of the second? There is just one person who is aware of, and that’s Beth.’ 

Mike needs others to be taught to speak about psychological well being, so these which are experiencing suicidal ideas don’t really feel so alone. He seems, alongside different bereaved relations, in movies printed by PAPYRUS, to assist people who find themselves battling suicidal ideas. 

To My Fellow additionally options fellow Lifeline trekker and PAPYRUS ambassador, actor Cat White, in addition to movies of a religion chief, an artist, a migrant and a counsellor, every delivering a private message. 

Helen, a mom, tells how one in every of her three youngsters began having suicidal ideas on the age of 14. Due to the persevering with assist of the household, her daughter went on to school, has an expert profession and is busy making a life for herself.

Mike provides: ‘I might all the time push for fogeys, anybody, to bear in mind and to have the ability to decide up on indicators and language. Are they saying “I’ve had sufficient” or “I don’t need to be right here”? Youngsters say issues day by day, however generally folks want to concentrate.

‘My recommendation to oldsters is equip your youngsters and yourselves to take care of poor psychological well being and bear in mind that generally it creeps up on you.

‘They are saying each suicide impacts 140 folks. The ripples hit folks at totally different totally different angles; there’s the shut household, there’s pals, colleagues, even simply individuals who hear the story. They’re all affected by it. And a few of them are affected very badly. Should you’re affected by suicide, you’ve bought extra likelihood of taking your personal life. I agree with that, 100%.

‘Greater than 200 schoolchildren a 12 months die by suicide. However we imagine that many of those might be prevented. Suicide is a tough phrase and faculties don’t appear to need to broach it as a result of they assume in case you point out it, it’ll occur. However that’s not the case.’

Mike now devotes his time to selling open conversations about suicide. He has been assembly with authorities ministers in a bid to get suicide onto the curriculum for main and secondary faculty. He continues to boost money, delivers talks and lectures and has one other stroll deliberate for September which is able to see them strolling between the parliaments of the 4 nations. 

He finds the strolling, and the brand new friendship with Andy and Tim, an actual consolation. And speaking helps him enormously. 

‘The grief won’t ever go – it ebbs and flows now,’ he provides. ‘It’s been over two years, however life at instances may be very, very tough. Speaking makes you realise you aren’t alone. There’s all the time hope.’

Do you may have a narrative you’d prefer to share? Get in contact by emailing [email protected] 

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MORE : Metro Lifeline: Be a part of actor Cat White on a night-time journey and assist increase cash for suicide charity PAPYRUS

MORE : Two mums who misplaced their youngsters to suicide share why they’re serving to increase hundreds for charity

MORE : ‘I arrange a suicide prevention charity to cease different households from struggling like us’


This 12 months sees the return of our good charity marketing campaign: Metro.co.uk Lifeline.

Our goal is straightforward – to boost as a lot cash as doable for charity with YOUR assist.

For 2022 now we have chosen to assist PAPYRUS Prevention of Younger Suicide, a significant organisation that works arduous to scale back the variety of younger individuals who take their very own lives.

In addition to sharing their story to assist increase consciousness, readers, charity supporters and celebrities may even be taking over England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike, at evening on July 2, 2022.

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