This article first appeared on LinkedIn.
It’s a sobering fact that suicide is the biggest cause of death for young people in the UK; according to the Office for National Statistics, the suicide rate among young people aged 15-19 has almost doubled since 2010.
Despite the numbers of lives lost each year the subject is still considered a taboo. My own life has been touched a number of times by suicide but I’ve rarely spoken about it. The first time, possibly the most tragic was a neighbour at our student house who at 12 took his own life due to bullying at school. While acknowledging the cultural stigma, we also need to start questioning what can we do to try and reverse these statistics?
Through our volunteering committee, Philanthropy we have taken steps in helping to support a charity who can make a difference. We chose PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide as our national charity because of the vital work they do in removing the stigma surrounding suicide and the support they give to young people who may be struggling. As part of a demanding, fast-moving industry, we know that sometimes the pressure can seem too hard to handle, and knowing that you’re not alone can make all the difference.
PAPYRUS runs HOPELineUK, a confidential support and advice service by phone, text or email for young people under the age of 35 who may be having thoughts of suicide, as well as anyone concerned about a young person who may be suicidal. Feedback from callers shows that by talking through their feelings and developing a safe plan with the advisor, they are able work through their thoughts of suicide and stay safe.
This year, Red Ant aims to raise £8,000 to support PAPYRUS’ life-saving services:
- Just £5 can pay for one call, text or email to the HOPELineUK
- £20 can pay for one 20 minute call to help a young person in distress overcome their pain and stay safe
- £800 would enable 30 members of the community to learn how to identify a person at risk of suicide and understand the reasons why
- £1,200 would help them deliver five mental health and suicide awareness sessions to young people
- £5,000 would keep HOPELineUK open for vulnerable young people and those around them for an entire week
Our key fundraising challenge for this year took place on Saturday 13th July. A team of thirteen ants from every part of the business – developers, designers and directors – started what was to be an incredible journey - a 50km walk across the Peak District which was tough, demanding but ultimately rewarding, both for the team and Papyrus.
We started our trek in the beautiful Bakewell countryside, and by the time we had finished walking the equivalent of London to Guildford, we had climbed around 1,400m overall, checking in at Calver, Tideswell and Taddington along the way.
The walk had both physical and mental ups and downs, and there were times when we needed to dig deep to keep going. But, buoyed by the knowledge that we were making a real difference to vulnerable young lives, as well as the excellent support provided by the Ultra Challenge organisers, we all made it to the finish line.
The most important reward was learning that we raised more than £5,000 for PAPYRUS – a tremendous achievement supported by the entire business and our wonderful clients, who all contributed by taking part in quiz nights, sweepstakes and spreading the word to friends and family.
There’s still time to get involved
Our annual challenge may be over, but we’re still fundraising to hit £8,000 by the end of the year.
Your donation will help us reach our target – however big or small, it will enable PAPYRUS to fund their HOPELine UK and give a lifeline to young people who desperately need it.
You can support us through our Virgin Money giving page, or by texting the word REDANT to 70085 followed by the amount you’d like to donate – eg REDANT 5 to give £5.