The OLLIE Foundation – One Life Lost Is Enough.
Have you heard of the OLLIE Foundation? I hadn’t before donr emailed to ask me to let my readers know all about them, and the really important work they do. OLLIE are a charity devoted to stopping teenagers and young people from taking their own lives.
Every week hundreds of teenagers contemplate suicide and four young people end their own lives every single day. Suicide is also the leading cause of death among young people aged 20-34 years in the UK. As the parent of a teenager and an almost teenager myself, these are scary facts to read, but ones that I feel we all need to be aware of.
The foundation was started in 2016, by three parents who had all lost their teenage sons to suicide. They vowed to do all they could to prevent other families suffering similar tragedies.
They work hard to spread the message that ‘One Life Lost is Enough’ (OLLIE) and they fund the training of life-saving suicide prevention skills for parents, students, school staff, community group leaders and many more.
Their aim is to raise awareness of suicide as an issue that can affect anyone at any time, and to create ‘suicide safe’ communities in which we can all discuss suicide and our mental health openly.
One of OLLIE’s founders, Stuart Falconer, says that for him, as a parent to two sons, he was completely unprepared to deal with the fact that Morgan took his own life. He was not prepared for that risk and had not discussed it with his children. He was not informed about suicide and when there were two suicides prior to Morgan’s within the same community he did not talk about it with his sons.
His attitude then, was that suicide is something that happens to other people and wasn’t his problem. Sadly, there are many other people that held similar attitudes before finding out first hand that suicide can affect anyone.
I talk openly with my children about a whole range of topics, there’s no such thing as an ‘awkward’ or embarrassing topic in our house and yet before being emailed by donr about working with them, we have never discussed suicide. It just hasn’t come up as a topic and we’ve only touched on talking about mental health before now.
That changed this week, I spoke to both boys about what suicide means and about why some people feel they have no other choice. I’ve reminded them that it isn’t a sign of weakness to talk about your feelings or to reach out and tell someone that you’re struggling, it’s a sign of strength. I’ve also spoken to them about being there for their own friends as well if they need to talk.
With all the high-profile suicides I’ve seen in the media in recent years, it has made me realise that suicide can affect anyone from any walk of life and that so many people put on a front to hide their real feelings and worries. It really is time for us all to talk more about mental health and suicide, to remove the stigma associated with mental health and depression.
I feel better for talking to my children and I also feel better knowing that charities such as The OLLIE Foundation are out there, looking out for young people and training communities on how to hopefully prevent suicides from happening.
OLLIE are trying to raise £10,000 via the donr platform to allow them to employ a new member of staff, to enable them to reach out to even more people and hopefully prevent more lives being lost. I really hope that we can all help them to do that.
I’ve donated myself and I’m hoping more people will follow suit. The video below shows how easy it is to donate via The OLLIE Foundation page on donr.
*Click to view in full screen mode*