Hi, I'm Ben
"a situation that no one saw coming"
It was a very normal Sunday, I was getting ready for school and listening to music on my bed when absolutely out of nowhere, a terrifying scream radiated from my brother's room. As I ran through the door, I was thrown into a situation that no one saw coming. I spent the next half an hour frantically and desperately trying to bring Sam back to life. If it was a normal Sunday before, it was certainly far from normal now.
Losing someone to suicide is unlike any other grief you could experience because the sheer act is one of willing. They made the choice to go, all things considered. That is very very hard to come to terms with. Someone you loved unconditionally and expected that to be mutual, someone whom you assumed would always be there for you, made a decision to leave you behind. Suicide doesn't have just one victim, so many lives are torn and so many are affected.
In the weeks after Sam's death, I made the decision to bounce back and save others the same pain through campaigning for mental health awareness. Fortunately for me, I had a team of very close friends around me who felt equally passionate about the subject of mental health. I sent a message to our group chat and asked if anyone wanted to do a walk to raise awareness and funds for the foundation we had set up in Sam's name (linked here). This walk turned out to be a 200km trek in 10 days from our local school in Cranbrook to Canterbury and on to Parliament Square in London. You can watch the video made during this event here!
Keep an eye on our social media, there's another walk in June 2019. More to be revealed soon.
You can also visit the project's website here.
This is probably one of the most noteworthy campaigns I've done due to the scale of support it received. After PROJECT WalkToTalk concluded I remember turning to the team and saying "we cannot just stop here". That statement not only meant we had to do another walk, but it also meant let's launch another project. This was what induced the #SOS petition. We created a petition on change.org which called for mandatory training in mental health first aid for all educators of our countries young people. We initially aimed for 15,000 signatures, a respectable number I thought. You can imagine the shock I got when I got a message on the 'team WalkToTalk' facebook group chat. "look at how quickly the petition is going up!" We gained around 60,000 signatures in just a day. I just sat there refreshing the page, watching it grow by hundreds every minute. A very special moment for all of us.
We soon reached 200,000 signatures which was our revised goal. Planning is taking place for the signature handover into 10 Downing Street. You can view the petition here.