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Mental Health Awareness Week not enough, says author of viral post

Last week marked Mental Health Awareness Week and hundreds of thousands of people and businesses flocked to social media to share their stories.

One LinkedIn post about the week was from Steve Phillip who posted the last ever message he received from his son before he sadly took his own life. The post has gone viral, with over 100,000 reactions, 4000 comments, 800 connection requests and dozens of messages from people reaching out expressing their own need for support.

Following his son, Jordan’s suicide, Steve set up The Jordan Legacy, a community interest company dedicated to supporting mental wellbeing and he has been Head of Mission at employee wellbeing company, Champion Health for a year, with a view to improving mental health and reducing startling high suicide levels, especially in young men.

In-between replying to the dozens of connection requests and messages which range from offering support to those seeking it, Steve has expressed concern that Mental Health Awareness Week is not enough.

Steve comments:
“The post going viral won’t alter our current plans to roll out a number of strategies and plans for The Jordan Legacy although it did postpone a few actions as I’ve attempted to respond to many of the personal messages. What it did do though was significantly increase the visibility of our mission and led to some specific projects and partnerships, including being invited to speak at the Cabinet Office about suicide prevention.”

In the viral post, Steve links to the North Yorkshire Police blog, his local police force he engaged with following his son’s death. The blog reports the force experienced 32,117 incidents where mental health has been a factor in the last 12 months – that’s up 543 incidents a month and 6,512 incidents in a year.

Steve continues:
“We’re certainly better at talking about mental health but we still have a way to go to eradicate the stigma, especially around suicide. My hope is that in sharing Jordan’s story, creating his legacy and the great work companies such as Champion Health does, we can become a zero-suicide nation.”

Harry Bliss is the founder and CEO of Champion Health who set up the community interest company following the suicide of his friend due to workplace stress.

Harry says:
“Steve’s story is such a powerful and raw one which has clearly touched many people. Whilst last week was Mental Health Awareness Week, we need to continue the conversation for the other 51 weeks of the year too.”

Steve and Champion Health are urging people with suicidal thoughts to seek support via Mind, Papyrus and Samaritans.